Q: My dog was recently stung by a bee, resulting in his mouth becoming completely swollen. We gave him an Allergex and the swelling subsided after an hour. Are human antihistamine tablets safe for dogs, or are there ones
specifically designed for animals?
A: Snapping at a flying insect like a bee is a fun activity for dogs. Unfortunately, they do sometimes get caught in the
crossfire of a bee’s stinger. The most common signs of a sting are a swollen face or lips. They also get covered in little bumps/weals under the skin when they have an allergic reaction like this. The good news is that, unlike humans, a dog’s shock organ isn’t their lungs, so it’s very rare for them to have trouble breathing after a bee sting, unless the bee gets stuck in their throat. A dog’s shock organ is its gastro-intestinal tract, so your pet’s much more likely to develop vomiting or diarrhoea.
A single sting is seldom enough to seriously harm a dog, but will cause them discomfort and pain for a few hours, until the swelling subsides. So what should you do if you suspect your pet’s been stung?
How to treat your pet if you suspect they’ve been stung by a bee
- Locate the stinger and try to remove it with a flat object. If it’s just a single sting, giving them something like an Allergex could help, but many dogs don’t respond to certain antihistamines for humans. If your pet’s been stung multiple times, however, this is an emergency: take them to the nearest vet immediately.
- Never give human medicine to your pet without consulting a vet first – you can cause a lot of damage if the dosage is wrong or the drug’s unsafe for animals.
- If you’re concerned, take your dog to the vet, who’ll likely administer an effective antihistamine that works in dogs and possibly a cortisone injection. Both of these will help lessen the effect of the swelling and discomfort quickly and ensure your pet’s happy and back to normal in no time.
COMPILED BY NOLWAZI DHLAMINI CONTRIBUTOR: MICHAEL FERREIRA PHOTO: ADOBE.STOCK.COM
This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis and treatment. Always consult your vet or animal behaviourist for specific information regarding your pets.