Bee Stings for Dogs and Cats

3 min read Jan 24, 2022

Do you know what to do if your curious and inquisitive cat or dog stumbles upon a bee or wasp and is stung? Bee and wasp stings can range from mild symptoms to potentially life threatening.  Our pets explore the world and make their learned observations by using their senses with their mouths and paws. This is why stings are usually seen around the mouth, nose, throat and paws.
One of the best ways to prevent stings is to teach your dog the “come” and “leave it” commands so you can safely direct them out of harm’s way.

But there are times when no matter how careful we are, our pets may learn some painful lessons.

How to Know your Pet has Been Stung:

  • Whining/Pacing/Agitation
  • Discomfort or Pain - such as a sudden lameness
  • Swelling at the sting site
  • Disorientation 
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing/swallowing
  • Pale Gums
  • Collapse

It’s important to note that bees will lose their barbed stingers and can usually only sting once. Wasps on the other hand can sting repeatedly if provoked enough. While the puncture of the sting is painful, it is the venom that is injected that can cause an anaphylactic reaction. 

What Do I Do if my Pet Was Stung by a Bee?

  • Try not to panic. Remain calm and assess the situation.
  • If your pet is having symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction call your veterinarian or closest Animal Emergency Clinic to let them know you will be arriving shortly. Sometimes anaphylactic reactions can be delayed. If your pet develops any of the above symptoms at any point after being stung please don’t delay medical treatment. Your pet may need a heavy dose of Benadryl and steroids along with IV fluids and monitoring hospitalization.

What to do if your Pet is NOT Having an Allergic Reaction

  • Try to visualize the stinger. It will appear as a brown/black splinter. Sometimes you can still see the venom sac attached if dealing with a bee sting.
  • Try to remove the stinger by scraping or brushing parallel to the skin surface with your fingernail, credit card or other stiff-edged object. Some experts advise to use caution if using tweezers as this may push more venom into the sting site from the venom sacs still attached to the stinger.If your pet will tolerate an ice pack on the sting site, gently apply for up to 10-15 minutes at regular intervals.
  • A paste of water and baking soda can also be applied to relieve inflammation.
  • You can also contact your veterinarian who can give you the proper dosing of Benadryl (diphenhydramine) for your pet

Looking for more ways to protect your dog or cat?  Consider investing in a dog insurance or cat insurance policy.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.