Animals/ Pets

Dogs are known to be nosey and like to get their noses in everything. Also, they enjoy chasing things.

Flying insects are something they enjoy chasing and are curious about. Unfortunately, they are often stung.

The most common stinging insects are bees, yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets. They inject a small dose of poison to cause pain when they sting. Bee stingers are barbed. The stinger of the bee is barbed.

Wasp, yellow jackets, and hornet stingers, on the other hand, are not barbed. However, they can cause more pain and sting several times.

Signs That Your Dog Was Stung By Bees:

  • Redness of skin
  • Itching – mild to severe
  • Ear flaps thickened
  • Swelling around the eyes, mouth, neck, and muzzle
  • Hives/welts of the skin
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Collapse or difficulty breathing
  • Weakness

If you notice any of these severe symptoms in your dog after it has been stung, go to the nearest animal ER.

  • Widespread swelling, especially around the neck and/or face, if your pet was stung by a bee in its mouth.
  • Wrinkles on the face or covering large areas of the body.
  • Itching and increased itchiness.
  • The swelling, welts, or scratches that are getting worse.
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea that continues.
  • You may have trouble breathing.
  • Collapse

You may be able to treat your pet at home if it is only mild swelling or itchiness (not on their face or neck) and they are not too uncomfortable.

What To Do If Your Dog Gets Stung?

How to calculate benadryl dosage for your dog or cat.

Benadryl (diphenhydramine), the typical dosage for dogs, is 1 mg per pound body weight. Please refer to the warnings before giving your dog Benadryl. Calculate the minimum and maximum dose of liquid or tablet diphenhydramine for your dog using the calculator below.

Using benadryl pills.

Enter your dog’s weight into the calculator below to calculate their dosage. Use a combination of half and whole pills to reach a dosage that is within your calculated range.

Look at the box of the medicine to see how many milligrams of diphenhydramine (mg) are in each tablet or pill. Give them the right combination of half and full pills to get them to the correct dose. Diphenhydramine tablets are usually 25 mg, but smaller tablets are 12.5 mg, and larger tablets are 50 mg. Calculate the number of tablets you need to administer within the dosage range by adjusting the tablet dosage.

Using benadryl liquid.

Calculate the liquid dosage by determining the diphenhydramine concentration from the label of the medication (see the illustration below for a guide). Enter the values along with your pet’s body weight in the Diphenhydramine Dosage Calculator.

How often should you give your dog benadryl after a bee sting?

As soon as you feel swelling, give the calculated dose. Repeat the dose four to six hours later. Repeat the dose every 8 hours for two to three days.

Benadryl can be used for other purposes in dogs.

Diphenhydramine can be given to dogs in other situations than for bee stings. Be sure to discuss Benadryl with your vet before giving it to your dog. Benadryl can help reduce seasonal allergies and itching in some dogs but not all. The calculated dose may be administered every 8-12 hours.

Benadryl may make some dogs sleepy. Pet owners find that giving the calculated dose 1 to 2 hours prior to travel is helpful for their dog who has anxiety. Benadryl can cause hyperactivity in some dogs, so be careful if this is your first time giving it.

Snake bite treatment no longer available.

Benadryl has been recommended for dogs bitten by snakes. Due to some contraindications, this is no longer recommended. This is usually only done as a preventative measure before administering antivenom.

Warnings when giving your pet benadryl.

  • Check that your medication only contains diphenhydramine in its active ingredient! Do not use additional decongestants or pain relievers. No Benadryl (r) Cold & Flu, Benadryl (r) Cold & Allergy or Tylenol PM, Advil PM, or other combination medications that contain diphenhydramine. Just straight diphenhydramine.
  • Check that the active ingredient of the diphenhydramine for your pet does not contain alcohol.
  • Be sure to check the label of any diphenhydramine that you buy for your dog. It should not contain xylitol. This is a sweetener that is safe for humans but toxic for dogs.
  • Calculate the dose for your pet if they are obese or overweight.
  • Benadryl Overdosing may cause pets to experience agitation and sedation. They can also suffer from vomiting, heart abnormalities, or other issues. Please double-check (and triple-check) your doses prior to giving this medication to your pet.
  • Keep an eye on your pet’s swelling. You should immediately take your pet to the vet if it does not improve within an hour or if it gets worse. If the swelling appears on the face or neck of the dog, or if he is having difficulty breathing, you should take him to the vet immediately.

Remove the stinger.

This video includes tips on how to remove stingers. If you are not comfortable with this, then take your dog to the veterinary clinic.

  1. To gently remove the stinger, swipe a credit card over the skin in the direction of the fur. The stinger can be thrown away once it has been removed.
  2. After removing the stinger, wash the affected area with warm soapy water.
  3. Use a paste of baking powder to soothe the skin. Mix baking soda with water in a 3:1 ratio.

Monitor the area.

You should consult your veterinarian if the swelling does not respond to the home remedies described below. Some dogs will have a more severe reaction to wasp or bee stings and require immediate veterinary treatment.

How to stop your dog from licking, chewing, or scratching at the sting.

You may need to use an Elizabethan collar or socks to control the trauma caused by chewing and scrubbing. The sting can be delayed in healing if the skin is constantly irritated or traumatized.

Remember, if the swelling in your pet is severe (especially on the face or neck), if the itching is extreme if there are digestive problems, breathing difficulties, or a collapse, your pet should be evaluated and treated by a veterinarian immediately.

What if you don’t have benadryl, or your dog is allergic to it?

If you have a pet that gets stung by a bee but only has mild swelling or itchiness around the sting site (not on their face or anywhere else), and they are not too uncomfortable about it, then one of these home bee-sting treatments may work.

Seven Drug-Free Home Treatments For Bee Stings.

These treatments are suitable for dogs and cats that have been stung or stung repeatedly by wasps or bees.

Ice pack

Apply an ice pack to the area of swelling once you have identified the sting. Wrap the icepack in a washcloth so that it does not come into contact with your skin. Direct, prolonged contact with ice may cause skin damage.

Repeat this for the first hour or two. Repeat this procedure for at least the first two hours. If you do not have ice, a bag of frozen vegetables or peas will work. To treat multiple stings and bites, soak a towel in cold water before applying.

Apple cider vinegar

Apply the vinegar directly to the area that has been stung using a cotton pad, cotton ball, or cotton swab. Apple cider vinegar is often able to neutralize the bee sting venom. Repeat this process several times until the swelling is gone. Be careful not to let any get near your dog’s eye.

Witch hazel

Apply witch hazel to the affected area several times a day using a cotton ball or swab. This will help reduce irritation and clean up the area. Witch hazel can reduce inflammation and itching. Be careful not to apply any witch hazel near your pet’s eye.

Baking soda paste

Make a paste by mixing baking soda with water (3:1 – three parts soda for every one part of water). To make small quantities of paste, you can use baking soda capsules. Apply the paste every two hours to the area of the sting for the first 24 hours until the swelling subsides. Be careful not to apply the paste near your pet’s eye, and stop using it if they are licking off the paste (as this can cause digestive upset). If your dog has multiple stings, an oatmeal bath can be soothing.

Oatmeal bath

If your dog has multiple stings, an oatmeal bath can be soothing. For an oatmeal bath, you can grind up to one cup of plain oatmeal (not instant oatmeal with added sugar) into powder. Fill a bathtub with water that is lukewarm or room temperature. Mix the oatmeal powder with 1/2 cup Epsom Salt. Let your dog soak in the tub from 5 to 10 min. After rinsing, gently towel dry your dog.

Aloe vera gel

Aloe vera can soothe the sting of a bee for your dog. Use only pure aloe (not lotions or gels containing alcohol or chemicals). Be careful not to let any get near your dog’s eye.

Milk of magnesia

Milk of Magnesia reduces itching and irritation. Apply a soothing layer of milk of magnesia on the affected area at least three times per day. Avoid getting any near your pet’s eyes. If your dog is licking the milk off, stop using it.


Apply a thin layer.5% Hydrocortisone Cream to the irritated area.

Repeat Wasp Or Bee Stings Within A Short Period.

It is important to remember that you are not the first pet owner who has done this. The chances of having a severe reaction are higher if you have repeated stings.

You should keep your pets away from the yard until an exterminator who is trained in bee relocation or a beekeeper with experience comes to deal with any yellow jacket, wasp, or bee problem. Online is the best place to look for local beekeepers. Enter your zip code, city name, or county name in the search box of your preferred search engine.

You should not try to move hives and nests yourself. It can be dangerous.

How To Prevent Bee Stings In Dogs.

It is not uncommon for some dogs to eat wasps and bees. This can be dangerous. If a dog consumes a stinging insect or bee, the swelling in the throat or mouth can cause breathing problems.

Along with taking measures to keep wasps and bees out of your yard, I would also recommend equipping your dog with a Field Guard when they are outside during the wasp and bee season. The Outfox Guard allows your dog to play, pant, and drink while protecting them from bees and wasps.

Canines with Severe Bee Sting reactions.

If a dog’s reaction to a yellow jacket, wasp, bee, or hornet sting is severe, it’s likely that any subsequent stings they receive will be as well. Even if you follow the above preventative measures, stings can still occur.

It is important to be prepared for anaphylactic reactions. If your dog has ever had anaphylactic reactions to a bee sting, it is important to know the location of the nearest animal ER and to discuss the three options with your veterinarian to protect your dog from future stings.

Benadryl as a pre-treatment.

You can help your dog’s stings by giving him Benadryl every day if you live in an area with a clearly defined “bee-season”. It is called “pre-treating.” We don’t yet know if it will work on all dogs or in all situations.

Benadryl does not stay in the body of a dog for very long. It is usually dosed every 8-12 hours, so the Benadryl that you gave your dog in the morning might not be active and still be in their system by the afternoon or evening if they are stung. Benadryl may make your dog drowsy. Daily dosing, especially multiple times per day, is not the best option for them.

Bee allergy shots.

Some dogs, just like people with allergies, can also be “desensitized”, to bee and wasp poison. This series of “allergy injections” — or “hyposensitization,” as it is more accurately called — aims at preventing your dog’s overreaction to bee and wasp bites.

It is good to know that your dog can die from severe reactions before you get them to the vet. You may also not be there to see your dog stung.

If you live in a close proximity to a veterinary practice that provides this service and have a dog who has severe allergies to bees/wasps, I would highly recommend reaching out and asking if a hyposensitization program is right for your pet. This service is available at some locations of the Animal Dermatology Clinic located in California. Their vets have been instrumental in testing this treatment’s safety and effectiveness.

Keep an EpiPen on hand.

Time is of the essence when dealing with anaphylactic reactions. You should always carry an EpiPen when you are out with your dog if you know your dog is allergic to yellow jackets, bees, or wasp stings.

These devices can save your dog’s life and give you time to take them to the vet. EpiPens are available in “regular,” “junior,” and “extra-large” sizes. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you which size is right for your dog (and you’ll still need a prescription to purchase one). EpiPens can be expensive and expire. Check out the price comparisons of pharmacies to find the lowest prices for EpiPens in your area.

Keep A Pet First-aid Kit In Your Home.

You should keep diphenhydramine at home, in your pets’ first aid kit. Also, check with your vet to make sure that you can give this medication to your dog in case of a sting. If your dog is stung, you can give him the medication early to prevent swelling, hives, and other issues.

Diphenhydramine, the active ingredient of regular Benadryl, can be helpful in treating sting allergies. You don’t need to buy Benadryl, you can get diphenhydramine which is cheaper and should work as well. Always check the milligrams of each tablet. Some tablets can be 12.5mg, while others are 25mg or 50mg.

It is important that the medication you choose contains ONLY diphenhydramine. It’s important to avoid any other drugs, such as decongestants or pain relievers. No Benadryl (r) Cold & Flu, Benadryl (r) Cold & Allergy or Tylenol PM, Advil PM, or other combination medications that contain diphenhydramine. Just straight diphenhydramine.

Check the labels of all medications for humans and pain relievers. Many are toxic to dogs. Make sure the liquid doesn’t contain xylitol, as this can be deadly if given to a dog!

You may not have access to ice or ice packs when traveling with your pet. Pack the instant cold packs into your pet’s emergency kit. Be sure to place something between the ice pack and your dog’s body. Do not let your dog chew on the ice pack.

Get capsules of baking soda for outdoor activity pet kits so that you can quickly make a paste to apply on a sting. Store them in an airtight container. Witch Hazel pads can be found that you can keep in your outdoor activity pet’s emergency kit.


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