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My dog was stung by a wasp

Brown dog with a wasp on its nose advice

In most cases a wasp sting will cause just short-lived irritation.

© Shutterstock

Dogs are such curious creatures, they'll often come into contact with wasps. But what can you do if your pet is stung?

By Dr. Laura Waring BVetMed MRCVS

Updated on the 12/08/2020, 13:24

Dogs are naturally curious and will often investigate flying wasps and bees, sometimes snapping at them as they fly. This can lead to them getting stung, commonly on the paw or around their face. Most wasp stings will be irritating to your dog but won’t cause a serious problem. Yet some dogs may have an allergic reaction, and if the sting affects the mouth or throat then swelling can cause difficulty breathing.

How do you know if your dog has been stung by a wasp? 

The first sign of a wasp sting may be your dog yelping and whining or rubbing or chewing the affected area, if it is the paw that has been stung the dog may be limping. There might be some redness, itching and swelling at the site of the sting. For the majority of dogs this will be the main effects of a wasp sting, irritation and short-lived discomfort. If your dog is more severely affected more serious symptoms could include swelling of the face or around the eyes or difficulty breathing if the sting affects the mouth or throat. Some dogs may experience an allergic reaction, but this is much less common.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

Do wasps leave a stinger?

Unlike bees, wasps do not leave behind a stinger when they sting. This means that they can sting more than once.

What do I do if my dog gets stung by a wasp?

Don't panic if your dog is stung by a wasp. Washing the affected area with water and using vinegar will neutralise the sting (which is alkaline). Applying ice for 10 minutes to the area that has been stung can be soothing and help to reduce swelling. If your pet has been stung on the mouth or throat, contact a vet immediately, as swelling could cause difficulty breathing.

Some dogs may be allergic to wasp stings, or may have a reaction if they have multiple stings. Signs your dog may be having an allergic reaction include becoming suddenly weak or lethargic, seeming to have trouble breathing, swelling of the face, persistent vomiting or collapsing. If your pet is showing any of these signs seek urgent veterinary assistance.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

Multiple wasp stings and stings in the mouth 

Likewise if your pet has received multiple stings, this can be much more serious and make your pet very unwell. In this case seek urgent veterinary care for your dog.

If your dog has been stung in the mouth by a wasp, it may be rubbing or pawing at its mouth, or you might notice swelling. If you suspect your dog has been stung in the mouth, contact a vet right away.

How long does a wasp sting last on a dog?

In most cases the irritation from a wasp sting won’t persist for longer than a day. If your dog is going to experience severe symptoms as a result of a wasp sting, these are usually evident within half an hour.

Can dogs die from wasp stings?

In most cases a wasp sting will cause short-lived irritation and discomfort for your dog. But a small number of dogs can suffer from a severe anaphylactic reaction to a wasp sting. If a dog has multiple wasp stings, it is possible that this could be fatal in some cases. Having said that, with prompt veterinary attention most dogs can be treated successfully, ensuring the allergic reaction does not progress.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

How do you treat a wasp sting on a dog?

Washing the affected area with water and using vinegar will neutralise the sting (which is alkaline). Applying ice for 10 minutes to the area that has been stung can be soothing and help to reduce swelling. If your pet has been stung on the mouth or throat, contact your vet immediately, as swelling could cause difficulty breathing.

Some dogs may be allergic to wasp stings, or may have a reaction if they have multiple stings. Signs that your dog may be having an allergic reaction include becoming suddenly weak or lethargic, seeming to have trouble breathing, swelling of the face, persistent vomiting or collapsing. If your pet is showing any of these signs, seek urgent veterinary assistance.

Likewise, if your pet has received multiple stings, this can be much more serious and make your pet very unwell. In this case seek urgent veterinary care for your dog.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

What can I give my dog for a wasp sting?

Some antihistamine medication may be suitable for your dog, but some are toxic so please do not medicate your pet. If you are concerned about your dog's symptoms after it has been stung, contact your vet for advice.