Skip main navigation

Dealing with stings or bites

Explore the different stings or bites that can injure animals. These include bee stings and ant bites.
Image of a bee.

Sting / Ant Bite

Bee stings are a common cause of injury in dogs and cats.

Generally, they get stung on the face if they have been sniffing at the bee, or sometimes on the feet if they stand on one. Similarly, ant bites around the feet are common though can also be elsewhere if the pet has been sleeping near a nest.

Most of the time they hurt a lot, and swell a little but are not life-threatening and will resolve themselves.

Usually, a bee sting can remain swollen for a day or two, and an ant bite is usually a little less depending on the type of ant.
Generally, your veterinarian will give an injection of antihistamine and a pain relief injection depending on how painful it is. With significant swelling, a steroidal anti-inflammatory injection is usually preferred, as it helps reduce the immune reaction to the sting.
Some animals, however, are allergic to bee stings. They can have a much more severe reaction than normal and even progress to not being able to breathe. If you see an animal get stung or are suspicious, monitor closely for signs of vomiting, agitation, or difficulty breathing. If any of these signs are noted, proceed to the vet immediately.
If they stop breathing, you may need to give them breaths through their nose while holding their muzzle closed. If you have human antihistamines at home, you can usually give one safely to help reduce the reaction before you can get to the vet.

It is worth noting that bee sting allergies can worsen with each sting. So, a pet that has only a mild or moderate reaction to a sting could later have a much more severe one, so don’t assume they won’t have an allergic response just because last time it didn’t seem major. Monitor closely either way.

© Learning Lounge
This article is from the free online

Basic First Aid for Animals and Pets

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now