Bee, wasp, yellow jacket and hornet stings are generally not much of an issue for a dog, but some dogs, like some people, have allergic reactions to stings that can range from mild to very severe, or even deadly. The most common symptoms allergic dogs are likely to experience following a bee sting are hives and swelling, but more severe reactions can include vomiting, diarrhea and trouble breathing. Take action to reduce your dog's discomfort as soon as he is stung. If your dog appears to be having an allergic reaction, seek immediate veterinary attention.
Be prepared for dog emergencies. Ask your veterinarian ahead of time about over-the-counter remedies for insect stings, including oral antihistamine such as Benadryl. He can tell you what antihistamine is best to give your dog if you suspect he's having an allergic reaction to a sting, and what the proper dosage is for him. Keep a supply of the antihistamine in your dog's emergency kit.
Remove the stinger from your dog's skin using a pair of tweezers to prevent more venom from being released into the dog's body. If you do not have tweezers, use something with an edge to scrape the stinger free. Hold the object parallel to the dog's skin and move it gently across the skin, scraping the stinger free.
Wash the wound using a damp wash cloth and mild soap, then apply an ice pack or cold compress to reduce the swelling. If you are using an ice pack, wrap it in a soft towel and apply it for no more than five minutes at a time.
Observe your dog for signs of an allergic reaction while administering the ice pack or cold compress. If your dog appears weak, shaky or has difficulty breathing he may be experiencing anaphylactic shock. Other signs of a severe allergic reaction may include vomiting, diarrhea and pale gums.
Seek veterinary attention immediately if you detect signs of a severe allergic reaction to the sting. Such events are rare. Call your vet to alert him you are on the way, and to receive any instructions he might have for first-aid treatment, including oral antihistamine. Keep your dog warm during the trip to the veterinarian, and try to keep him conscious. Applying corn syrup or honey to the dog's gums may help to keep him awake.
Relieve your dog's pain by administering a baking soda poultice. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water that it creates a thick paste. Spread the mixture over the stung area.
Apply a cold compress or ice pack to the swollen area on your dog's body for 10 to 30 minutes several times throughout the day. This will help to reduce swelling and will also help to relieve pain.
Observe your dog closely for 24 hours following the sting. Continue to administer the cold compress treatment and continue to watch for signs of severe allergic reaction.