Our canine companions are at risk for bee stings as they are naturally curious and will chase after anything that moves, including insects. Bees are no exception. Most of the time, a bee sting is just a rather painful, but ultimately minor irritation for a dog.

Stings can be dangerous for your dog if he’s stung multiple times or in the mouth or throat, as swelling can occur and potentially obstruct his airway. These stings need the attention of a veterinarian.

Most commonly, it’s either a bee or wasp that has stung your dog. Bees have a barbed stinger, which means that after they have stung your dog, the stinger gets pulled from the bee’s body, killing the bee so it can’t sting again. Wasps don’t have barbed stings and can come back to sting again.

Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to bee stings. Watch for difficulty breathing, weakness and also look for quite a bit of swelling around the site of the sting and extending away from it.

If there is any sign of an allergic reaction, your dog has been stung multiple times, or he has been stung in the mouth or throat, you need to get him to the vet.

Otherwise a simple uncomplicated sting can be treated at home. If you can still see the stinger protruding from your dog’s skin, you can try to scrape it away with a nail file or piece of cardboard. Don’t use tweezers to try to remove it and this can squeeze more venom from the stinger into your dog and make things worse.

A paste of baking soda and water applied to the sting area can help to relieve pain, as can an ice pack applied to the sting site. Be sure to keep an eye on your dog after he’s been stung to make sure no problems develop.

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