First Aid for Dogs – Insect Sting

We all know that dogs love to sniff and to run about in the grass. And this can result in them disturbing insects that bite like bees, wasps and mosquitos.

Dogs will commonly have a variety of reactions to a sting depending on the source, bite location, the number of bites, whether they’ve been bitten before and their natural response. Some dogs may be allergic to stings and they will require immediate veterinary care. Dogs that have been bitten on the tongue or throat it they try to bite or catch an insect also need to see a vet as swelling could obstruct their airways.


In the event that your dog is bitten by a bee, wasp or mosquito apply the following first aid for dogs:

  • If you can find the sting, remove it with tweezers as this prevents entry of any further venom.
  • Watch carefully for any reaction.  If swelling, vomiting or any other concerning symptoms occur then take your dog to the vet as they will likely administer treatment. Treatments may include anti-inflammatories or antihistamines, to ensure further swelling does not interfere with breathing. Severe cases may require IV fluids and adrenaline. Life-threatening anaphylaxis/acute allergic reaction is uncommon but possible. Multiple stings increase the likelihood of a more severe reaction.
  • Other things that may help, are application of a cold compress for 5-10 minutes or application of baking soda paste (with water) several times a day. Aloe Vera and Milk of Magnesia may also help with minor stings.

The second and any subsequent stings your pet encounters can be more serious than the first, although it is difficult to know if your pet has received a sting in the past as there may have been no reaction the first time around.

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Dr Abbie Tipler, BVSc, MACVS (Surgery) Tipler, BVSc, MACVS (Surgery)

Dr Abbie is a Small Animal Veterinarian with 10 years full-time experience. Her passion is Small Animal Surgery and in 2011 she studied towards and obtained her Memberships in Small Animal Surgery from the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists. Although surgery is her special interest, she loves all aspects of General Practice, especially canine medicine. She lives with her family and two Ragdoll cats.