Dog Stung By Bee In Mouth? Here Is What You Need To Do Next

Dog Care, Dogs

Last Updated - June 21, 2024

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In the world of dog ownership, unexpected incidents are part and parcel of the journey. One such incident, though less common, is a dog being stung by a bee in the mouth. Picture this: a sunny day, your dog eagerly snapping at buzzing flying insects, only to yelp in surprise and discomfort moments later. While the thought of your furry friend being stung inside the mouth can be unsettling, understanding this situation's unique dynamics is crucial.

In this article, we will dive into the specifics of what happens when a dog is stung by a bee in the mouth, the immediate steps you should take, and the potential complications to watch out for.

Dogs Stung by Wasp or Bee Stings?

Identifying whether your dog was stung by a bee or a wasp in the mouth can be challenging, especially since the stinger might not be visible and the dog's reaction might obscure clear observations. However, here are some tips to help determine the type of insect involved:

Stinger Presence: Bees usually leave their stinger in the dog's skin along with a venom sac. If you can safely inspect your dog's mouth and find a stinger, it's likely a bee sting. On the other hand, wasps do not leave their stinger behind, and there can be multiple stings.

Symptoms and Reaction Severity: Bee and wasp stings alike can result in pain, swelling, and redness. However, a wasp sting often causes a more immediate and intense pain reaction than bee stings. Additionally, in certain instances, wasp venom has the potential to induce a more severe allergic reaction.

Insect Behavior and Environment: Consider where and how the sting occurred. Bees are typically more docile and sting in defense, often near their hives. Wasps can be more aggressive and are known to sting while foraging or if they feel threatened. A wasp might be more likely if the incident occurred near food or garbage.

Allergic Reactions: Both stings can cause allergic reactions, but the type of reaction might differ. Bees and wasps have different venom compositions, and if your dog has been stung before, its reaction might help you determine the insect type based on any previous incidents.

The appearance of the Insect: If you happen to see an insect, bees and wasps have distinct appearances. Bees are rounder and have a fuzzy appearance, while wasps have a slender body and are smoother.

Symptoms of a dog stung by a bee in the mouth

If a dog is stung by a bee in the mouth, the symptoms can be more concerning due to the location of the sting. Here are some key symptoms to look out for:

  • Swelling: One of the most immediate and noticeable symptoms is swelling in the mouth or throat area

  • Pain and Discomfort

  • Excessive Drooling

  • Difficulty Breathing: If the swelling is severe, it may obstruct the airway, leading to breathing difficulties

  • Gagging or Coughing

  • Reluctance to Eat or Drink

  • Pawing at the Face

  • Changes in Behavior: The dog might become more withdrawn, agitated, or anxious due to the discomfort.

  • Visible Sting or Stinger

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms after being stung by a bee in the mouth, it's important to contact a vet immediately, especially if there are breathing difficulties or severe swelling. The vet can provide appropriate treatment, such as anti-inflammatory medication, dog antihistamines, or in severe cases, emergency care like oxygen therapy or corticosteroids.

What to do if your dog is stung in the mouth

If your dog is stung by a bee in the mouth, immediate and careful action is necessary due to the sensitive nature of the area and potential complications. Here's what you should do:

Remove the Stinger Carefully

If the stinger is visible and safely reachable, try to gently scrape it off with a flat object like a credit card. Refrain from employing tweezers or squeezing the stinger, as this action could release more venom. Exercise gentleness to avoid causing additional pain.

Apply a Cold Compress Externally

Apply a cold compress or ice pack externally on your dog's mouth. This can assist in reducing swelling and offering some pain relief. Ensure that the compress is not too cold and is wrapped in a cloth to avoid direct contact with the skin.

Monitor for Allergic Reaction

Monitor for any indications of an allergic reaction. This includes excessive swelling (especially around the throat), difficulty breathing, hives, or any unusual behavior. Such symptoms require immediate veterinary attention.

Check for Breathing Difficulty

Monitor your dog’s breathing closely. The presence of respiratory distress, such as rapid breathing, wheezing, or gasping, is a concerning indication. If these symptoms are present, it's a veterinary emergency.

Offer Dog Fresh Water

Give your dog access to fresh water. Drinking can help soothe the sting site and ensure hydration. However, if your dog is having difficulty swallowing, skip this step and seek veterinary help.

Seek Veterinary Attention

Contact your veterinarian immediately. They can provide specific advice and may want to see your dog as soon as possible, especially if there's a risk of the airway being blocked due to swelling.

Administer Medications Only if Advised

If you have a first aid kit for your pet and are instructed by your vet, you may give an antihistamine like Benadryl. Nevertheless, this should only be done under veterinary guidance, ensuring the correct dosing is followed.

Prevent Scratching or Pawing at the Mouth

Your dog may try to paw at their face or mouth due to discomfort. This can aggravate the sting area or cause injury. Gently distract your dog or use an Elizabethan collar if necessary.

Keep Your Dog Calm and Cool

Reduce your dog's activity and keep them in a cool, quiet place. Excitement and heat can exacerbate swelling and discomfort.


Are Bee Stings Dangerous to Dogs?

Bee stings pose a potential danger to dogs, especially if they trigger an allergic reaction or if the stings occur in sensitive areas such as the mouth or throat. While a single sting may only cause minor pain and swelling for most dogs, stung multiple times or a sting inside the mouth can lead to a severe reaction such as swelling, breathing difficulties, and even anaphylactic bee reactions in rare cases. Vigilantly monitoring your dog after a bee sting is crucial, and it's imperative to seek veterinary care if severe symptoms develop.

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About the Author

Doctor of veterinary medicine with extensive experience in animal welfare with a strong interest in feline medicine and plans to pursue ABVP-Feline specialty board certification. A key member of many local veterinary associations and avid reader of animal related science journals and studies.

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