Dogs can be very curious animals, and while this can be good for playtime, it can also get them in trouble. Dogs have the instinct to snap bugs from the air, and sometimes they can get bees in their mouths. The reaction to this ranges from mild to severe, but in both cases, something can be done. Most of the time, your dog might feel a little discomfort from the sting, but it rarely progresses into something fatal. In the event that your dog eats bee, here is some useful information on how to address the issue.
What Happens When a Dog Eats a Bee?
There isn’t a simple answer to the question ‘Can dogs eat bees?’ When your dog eats a bee, the first reaction is usually fear of them getting sick, but in most cases, they do not fall ill. What you will have to worry about, however, is the sting that the bee will leave the dog with. It is useful to note that bees are venomous and not poisonous and so do not pose any fatal threat to your dog. Poison leads to an adverse reaction, which can lead to sickness or even death. Poison is also administered passively, where it is emanated by the containing organism and mixes with the blood once the organism is digested. Venom, on the other hand, has a more active administration though hair, a syringe, or fangs. Also, when it comes to digestion, dogs will digest the bee, just like any other food they eat without any problems. If your dog swallowed bee, there is nothing to worry about, and you can salvage the situation.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Bee
As mentioned, most of the time, what you should be worried about is the bee stinging your dog. At that moment, this is how you can help your dog:
- Cuddle your dog: Considering the pain and discomfort that comes with a bee sting, your dog will need any comfort they can get. This is where your caring quality can be put to use, to make it easier on the dog. Spending time with the dog and offering the best care to them is a way of reassuring them that all is going to be okay. This care can serve as mental first aid and a preparation step for the next procedures involved.
- Remove the stinger: When honeybees sting, they leave the ‘needle’ behind, and this is a cause of discomfort for the dog. Other bees and wasps do not do this, and so you would not need this step in that case. You will need to be as gentle as possible, not to aggravate the issue for the dog. Pulling and pinching at the stinger is not advisable since it is more painful and likely to push more venom into the wound. It is recommended to scrape at it until it comes off using a credit card or something your dog is comfortable with. Do this with a few gentle strokes and a lot of patience and take breaks when you feel tired. You have to keep a calm demeanor so that you do not scare the dog, which can make it worse for them. Some say baking soda and water work well to loosen up the stinger, but there is no evidence of how safe it is. Others say apple cider vinegar can do the job, but the safety of this method can also not be verified. The bee sting is acidic in nature, and these two components have a different ph level, which can either be good or bad.
- Cold compress: To help with relief, try applying a cold compress to the wound to bring the dog some relief. Do this in between scraping the stinger out so that the dog is not uncomfortable throughout the process. If you are successful in getting the sting out of their mouth, then with the compressions, the swelling will reduce after a short time.
Check out our guide on Dog First Aid Kits for more info.
What to Do in Extreme Cases
All dogs are different, and while most will only experience mild swelling, which reduces after some time, others might experience allergic reactions to the venom. In such a situation, you cannot help them at home, and you will need to seek medical attention immediately. Rushing your dog to the vet is a crucial step because your dog can die if time is wasted. The only way to tell if your dog needs immediate medical attention is to know the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
- Breathing difficulty: This is one of the most common signs that your dog needs to see a vet immediately. If your dog starts to breathe heavily and you sense a strain in their inhalation and exhalation, then it is time to go to the hospital.
- Swelling: The venom in the sting is bound to cause some swelling, but the intensity is what to look out for. Severe swelling can obstruct the dog’s normal functioning like breathing, chewing, and swallowing. In this case, compressions might not work, and the dog will need to be injected.
- Disorientation: Another allergic reaction to a sting is the dog losing concentration and becoming lethargic. This is where they seem sleepy and cannot coordinate their movements. You might notice one or two of these, but if you notice all of them, then it is more intense than you think, and the hospital is the right place to be.
It is vital to note that even if your dog isn’t allergic to bee stings, some kinds of bites are fatal. For example, at the back of the tongue or down their throat are likely to swell and obstruct the airways. Multiple bites also need special attention since it means more venom, which can cause severe problems. Also, puppies are not healthy enough and so might need medical care anyway.
Though bee stings are not dangerous, it can be uncomfortable and, in exceptional cases, fatal. Your dog will need you to be as proactive as possible in such a situation, and so you need all the information you can get. One way to go is to trust your instinct and seek an expert opinion at the slightest feeling of something being wrong. The information discussed in this article is also useful just in case you and your pup find yourselves in that mess.
- What to Do if Your Dog Is Stung by a Bee or Wasp – Blue Cross