Pomeranian dog staring at bee

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Are dogs allergic to bees? Dogs can be allergic, but for most pups, bee stings are mildly painful and not severe. However, bee stings can be dangerous if your dog is allergic. Bee allergies in dogs can result in anaphylactic shock, which is a life-threatening emergency. Multiple bee stings, particularly within a short period, can also be harmful.

You might not know if your dog is allergic, so monitor them if you suspect they've been stung. Symptoms usually appear quickly after the sting, but they could be delayed, so keeping a close eye on your dog is best. The sting will likely result in swelling of the affected area, and a sting around the nose or mouth can interfere with your dog’s breathing. If the swelling increases significantly within a few minutes, seek medical help from your vet immediately.

What causes bee allergies in dogs?

Causes Of Bee Allergies In Dogs

Dogs tend to be naturally curious, and as they explore the world with their noses, they have a higher chance of sticking their nose directly into spots where bees fly around. They might also step on a bee during a joyful game of fetch.

Sometimes, a bee sting causes your furry friend to show signs of a bee allergy. This is due to the antibodies produced when the bee’s venom enters their body.1 Essentially, it sends the body into a mild state of shock by lowering the blood pressure. While this is a rare reaction, some dogs are more sensitive to bee venom, resulting in a canine allergy.

Symptoms of bee allergies in dogs

Symptoms Of Bee Allergies In Dogs

It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of a bee allergy and anaphylactic shock2, which include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Nibbling on the affected area
  • Whining
  • Swelling around the mouth, eyes, throat, or ears
  • Collapse
  • Weakness

Normally, a dog's allergic reaction to a bee sting occurs immediately after the sting. Keep in mind that some dogs may be more sensitive to either wasps or bees, so it’s a good idea to always try and figure out what type of insect stung your dog.

Moreover, anaphylactic shock affects dogs’ livers and gastrointestinal system first, rather than the lungs.3 This means that if your dog is going into anaphylactic shock, they'll likely exhibit symptoms of digestive distress rather than respiratory distress. In this situation, your dog may have sudden onset diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, or excessive drooling. They might also have pale gums, a high heart rate, or a weak pulse. If not treated, anaphylaxis can be fatal.

Treating A Dog’s Allergy Symptoms After A Bee Sting

If your dog is stung by a bee or if you're unsure of whether it was a bee or a wasp, the first thing to do is look for the stinger left behind in your dog’s skin. Bees always leave behind their stinger, which continues to pump venom into the victim until removed, so getting the stinger out as quickly as possible is essential. This can be achieved with a pair of tweezers from your pet emergency kit. You should also determine how many stings occurred since this can be useful for the vet.

Next, gently wash the affected area with soap and cool water to prevent infection. Keep in mind that this will feel unpleasant for your dog, so don’t scrub too hard. Use gentle, circular motions until you know the area has been cleaned. Apply a cold, damp washcloth or ice wrapped in a towel to the site to help reduce swelling.

Should you give your dog benadryl after a bee sting? While some over-the-counter human antihistamines are safe for dogs, it’s generally best to avoid giving your pet human pharmaceuticals since the wrong ratio could be dangerous. Your vet will have a better idea of what type and how much allergy medication to give your dog.

Keep a close eye on your furry friend for the next 24 hours in case they show delayed signs of an allergic reaction, including anaphylactic shock. While most allergy symptoms will manifest within 10 minutes, it can sometimes take hours for them to appear.3

Contact your vet immediately if any allergy symptoms appear. Your dog will feel agitated and scared after the sting, so be sure to shower them with a lot of love. This will also help calm both of you while assessing and handling the situation.

When To Take Your Dog To The Vet For Bee Sting Allergies

It’s never a bad idea to consult a veterinarian if your dog has been hurt, especially if you’re unsure about what to look out for. The following situations always require urgent medical advice:

  • If you suspect your dog is experiencing a severe allergic reaction
  • Your dog has been stung in the mouth or around the nose, both of which can disrupt their breathing
  • Your dog was stung multiple times
  • Swelling that won’t go away
  • Any of the symptoms of anaphylactic shock

Seek urgent veterinary assistance if your dog shows symptoms of anaphylactic shock after a bee sting

Anaphylaxis is an extremely emergent situation. If you think your dog might be experiencing anaphylactic shock, you should get emergency vet assistance immediately. The vet will usually treat your dog with adrenaline (also called epinephrine) via IV injections. They'll also treat any other symptoms your dog has.

Bee Allergies In Dogs: FAQs

How do I know if my dog is allergic to bees?

Bee stings are a natural risk when spending time outside, especially in warmer weather. Additionally, dogs may run into a beehive, which can lead to multiple stings since these insects are protective of their homes. Most bee stings are fairly minor and can be easily treated at home. In some cases, however, it can turn more serious.

Your pup might be allergic to bees if they experience severe itching, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, extreme swelling at the site of the sting, or collapse.4 Watch your dog’s reaction to bee stings and seek veterinary advice immediately if your dog shows any of these signs.

What should I do if my allergic dog is stung by a bee?

If your dog shows signs of an allergic reaction after getting stung by a bee, it’s best to take them directly to the vet. Do your best to keep your dog calm. Place a cool, wet towel on the affected area to help reduce pain and swelling and prevent them from licking the sting. Always consult a vet before giving your dog any allergy medicine.

It’s impossible to prevent bee stings, even if you take all of the necessary precautions. However, you can minimize their risk by keeping your dog away from areas where there may be a lot of bee activity. Knowing the essential steps to take in case of an allergic reaction is also crucial. So don't worry; your pup can still enjoy being outside.

How long does an allergic reaction last in dogs after a bee sting?

For most dogs, the symptoms of a bee sting should improve after 12-24 hours. Keep an eye on your dog during this time and contact your vet immediately if new symptoms appear. Apply a cold compress to the affected area to help minimize swelling and pain and keep your dog calm and comfortable. If your dog is stung by a bee, remember to remove the stinger first.

Final Notes

So can dogs be allergic to bees? Yes, but dogs aren't typically severely allergic to bee stings. Monitor your dog closely during the hour after the sting to ensure they aren’t experiencing any severe allergy symptoms. Swelling, itching, and mild pain are all normal, but if your dog starts having trouble breathing, has severe itching, vomiting, diarrhea, or collapses, seek veterinary attention immediately.

If your dog has been stung by a bee or wasp, Dutch can help. Connect with a licensed vet online from the comfort of your own home for advice on how to take care of your dog’s bee sting. Our vets are always available to give you advice and answer your questions. However, please seek emergency care from your local vet if your dog demonstrates severe allergy symptoms.

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References

  1. AKC Staff. “What to Do If Your Dog Is Stung by a Bee or Wasp.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 20 Sept. 2021, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-stung-bee-wasp/

  2. “What to Do If Your Dog Is Stung by a Bee or Wasp.” Blue Crosshttps://www.bluecross.org.uk/advice/dog/health-and-injuries/what-to-do-if-your-dog-is-stung-by-a-bee-or-wasp

  3. Tizard, Ian. “PET OWNER VERSION Disorders Involving Anaphylactic Reactions (Type I Reactions, Atopy) in Dogs.” Merck Veterinary Manual, Merck Veterinary Manual, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/immune-disorders-of-dogs/disorders-involving-anaphylactic-reactions-type-i-reactions,-atopy-in-dogs

  4. “Bee and Wasp Stings in Dogs.” The Kennel Clubhttps://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health-and-dog-care/health/health-and-care/a-z-of-health-and-care-issues/bee-and-wasp-stings-in-dogs/

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

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During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

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