What Happens if My Dog Ate a Bee? 

3 min read
Jan 05, 2022

Does your dog jump after flies and moths or try pouncing on spiders?  Dogs often explore their environments with their mouths, which can get them into trouble. That can also be the case if your dog was to eat a bee. 

Certain dog breeds naturally chase anything that moves. So birds, rodents, and bugs can often grab the attention of many pups.1  However, other times dogs and curious puppies find it fun to chase bees.  Or the constant buzzing of a hovering bee can cause a dog to snap at it or even eat it. 

So what happens if your dog eats a bee or suffers from a bee sting? 

What Do I Do if My Dog Eats a Bee? 

If you know your furry friend has eaten a bee or was stung by a bee, try to remain calm. In most cases, bee stings will cause mild pain and discomfort and can be managed at home. Occasionally, bee stings can be more severe and require veterinary treatment.  There are a handful of symptoms your dog might display after being stung by a bee. 

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Signs Your Dog Has Been Stung by a Bee 

Most bee stings on dogs occur on the paws or around the face.2 If your four-legged friend is stung by a bee, you may notice any of the following signs:3,4

  • Whining or yelping 
  • Limping5
  • Biting or licking the area where the sting was 
  • Swelling of the eyes, muzzle, and neck 
  • Drooling 
  • Agitation 
  • Holding up the affected area, such as a paw 
  • Pawing at the face or mouth (if stung on the face or mouth) 
  • Itchy skin 
  • Vomiting or diarrhea  
  • Hives   

When a bee stings, it injects a small amount of venom, which is what causes the pain.6  This can be similiar to when a dog is bitten by a spider

How to Help if your Dog was Stung by a Bee 

If you can see where the bee stung your dog, you may be able to carefully remove the stinger with a pair of tweezers.  This could potentially help with discomfort.7   Remember, bee stings are acidic. So, if you are sure it was a bee that stung your dog, your vet  may recommend utilizing baking soda to neutralize the venom.8 You can also apply ice or an ice pack to the area to help soothe the pain.

Check in with your vet and continue to monitor your pup even if he or she appears to be doing okay. Observe your dog for 24 hours to make sure he has no further reactions. Contact your vet if any other signs or symptoms arise.  

When is a Bee Sting Considered Serious? 

Like people, some dogs can have severe allergic reactions to bee stings. You should contact your vet if your dog has suffered multiple bee stings. Bee stings inside the mouth, tongue, or throat can also be potentially serious. If you already know your dog is allergic to bee stings, call your vet as soon as you suspect your pup has suffered a bee sting. If your dog has never been stung before, you likely won’t know if he or she is allergic. However, if you notice any of the following signs, you should contact your vet immediately. 

Signs Your Dog Might Be Having an Allergic Reaction 

  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Coughing 
  • Swelling of the mouth, throat, eyes, or ears 
  • Vomiting or diarrhea 
  • Collapsing 
  • Weakness to the point of collapse 
  • Lethargy 
  • Disorientation 
  • Respiratory distress 10, 11

Multiple bee stings on the tongue and throat could cause swelling that could potentially block your dog’s airway. If your dog is allergic to bees, it can be beneficial to pay particularly close attention to your pup during spring, when many bugs come out to play.

Severe Allergic Reactions in Dogs 

You should immediately take your dog to the nearest emergency animal hospital if you notice any of the following symptoms: 

  • Wide-spread swelling (especially around the face or neck if your dog got stung in their mouth)  
  • Welts on the face or covering a large portion of the body  
  • Increased itchiness and scratching  
  • Swelling, welts, or scratching that continues getting worse 
  • Continuous vomiting or diarrhea 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Collapse 12

If you notice signs of an allergic reaction, particularly if your pup is stung multiple times, you should not try to treat the bee stings at home without consulting the vet.  

The Takeaway 

While most bee stings cause dogs mild discomfort and swelling, it is always better to be on the safe side.  Contact your vet and observe your dog for signs of an allergic reaction for 24 hours following a sting.  You should prevent your dog from licking and scratching at the sting area as this can interfere with healing.  Remember, bees can get trapped in the fur and coats of dogs, so make sure to check your pup when they come in from the outdoors. 

Here at MetLife Pet Insurance,1 we know that accidents and illnesses happen any time of the year, not just when the bees are out. You can help protect your pet’s health by making sure he or she is covered with a Pet Insurance Policy2 from MetLife Pet Insurance. 

Pet Insurance Can Help Cover Bee Sting Costs

Find Out More

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. 

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.

Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC. 

The Best 6 Dog Breeds for First Time Owners, PetFirst 
Bee and Wasp Stings in Dogs, The American Kennel Club 
3 What to do If Your Dog is Stung by a Bee or Wasp, BlueCross UK  
4 What to do If your Dog is Stung by a Bee, Preventive Vet, Dr. Beth Turner, 2021 
5 My Dog is Limping, What Do I Do?, PetFirst  
6 Why Do Dogs Try to Eat Bees?, American Kennel Club, Kaitlyn Arford, 2021  
7 Pet Health Tips, Purdue Vet  
8 Pet Health Tips, Purdue Vet 
9 Basic First Aid Tips for Cat & Dog Owners, MetLife Pet Insurance
10 Why Do Dogs Try to Eat Bees?, American Kennel Club, Kaitlyn Arford, 2021 
11 What to do If Your Dog is Stung by a Bee or Wasp, BlueCross UK 
12 What to do If your Dog is Stung by a Bee, Preventive Vet, Dr. Beth Turner, 2021