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Bee Stings & Pets: When to worry, what to look for

May 20th is World Bee Day.

We absolutely LOVE bees! They are the most remarkable, clever and let’s face it, probably the most essential animal on the planet. We couldn’t live without them. BUT…

They do sting.

Like any creature bees need to protect themselves to survive. Unfortunately for some of us – including some pets – that doesn’t go down so well!

Just like humans, some pets are allergic to bee stings.

Most of the time, cats and dogs will have a little local irritation; some swelling, tenderness and a little pain after being stung.

While it’s not fun, its generally nothing to worry about and your pet will live to tell the tale. Or the tail (-; These type of symptoms may last for around 24 hours or so.

However, like us, some animals are very sensitive to insect bites and stings and for those pets, a bee sting can be far more problematic.

Pets will normally react within 20mins of a bite or sting, however, sometimes there is a delayed reaction which can be hours or even days later. And because we might not be aware that the animal has been stung, it’s important to know what signs to look for.

The following can be signs of an allergic reaction to a bee sting in your dog or cat:
  • Pain and swelling in the area bitten

  • Limping/ guarding the site

  • Bumps or hives on the skin

  • Itchiness

More severe symptoms would look like:
  • Severe itching

  • Vomiting/diarrhoea

  • Facial swelling

  • Staggering or collapsing

  • Pale gums

  • Difficulty breathing

If your pet showed any of these signs and symptoms, it’s off to the vet as quickly as possible.

What about antihistamines?

Many people ask if pets can be given human anti-histamine medications after a sting or bite, but it’s best to leave medicating your animals in the hands of a professional. If your pet's symptoms are severe, they should be taken to an emergency vet regardless.

If the symptoms are lesser and more localised, you should still check with your vet before administering any medication.

The good news is that bee stings in pets are pretty rare.

Our pets love to frolick and play in the grass and the cheekiest of them even like to have a swipe at the poor unsuspecting bees. Even so, the chances of your pet being stung are relatively low – thankfully.

They can all share the garden together!

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