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Wasp and Bee Stings

on July 08, 2016

Until they get stung, our dogs and cats can see chasing wasps and bees as great entertainment! Here's our guide to recognising and treating an insect sting.


  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness

Some pets may have an allergic reaction. It’s important to monitor your pet for 24 hours after a sting and call your vet immediately if you see any signs of sickness, disorientation or breathing problems.

Where has your pet been stung?

A sting in the mouth, throat, tongue or neck may inhibit breathing and is potentially much more of a problem than a sting on the feet, legs or body.

Bees vs Wasps

Bees only sting as a last resort if they feel threatened. If you know there are bees nearby or your dog or cat is trying to catch, swipe or play with the bee, it’s best to try and distract or remove your pet before they get stung. Sadly, once a honey bee stings you or your pet, the bee will die. They not only leave their stinger behind but part of their body, causing fatal damage to their abdomen. If a honey bee has stung your dog or cat then tweezers are not recommended as a way of removing the stinger as this can squeeze venom further into your pet. Instead, use a piece of card to gently scrape the stinger out. Wasps can sting repeatedly so don’t let your pet stay in the area they were stung.


Wasps and other bee species don’t leave the stinger behind. However, bee sting venom is acidic and wasp sting venom is alkaline so home-made treatments to ease the pain and swelling are different. For bees, use a mixture of water and bicarbonate of soda on the sting, followed by an ice pack to reduce swelling. For wasps use vinegar or lemon juice followed by an ice pack. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of these home-made remedies is debatable, the most reliable treatments will be available from your vet, especially if your pet is having difficulty breathing or showing signs of an allergic reaction. Your vet can administer an injectable steroid or anti histamine medication to provide immediate relief (usually within about 30 minutes) and reduce the swelling. Later this might be followed up with further tableted treatment, if deemed necessary.


Vet Street: Bee Stings 101

Insect Stings: Acid or Alkali