Your dog looks adorable running through a field of wildflowers; but suddenly, you notice he just swallowed the bumble bee he was chasing. After a brief moment of panic, you collect your thoughts and try to figure out what to do. Should you take him to the vet? What happens if a dog eats a bumble bee? What can you expect over the next few minutes, hours, or days? Keep reading! In this article, we’ll answer these and other questions.
What You'll Learn Today
Can Dogs Eat Bumble Bees?
Dogs are curious and playful, and they don’t always know when something is going to hurt them. Many dogs get excited by flying things, so to them, a bumble bee looks like fun times waiting to happen!
Most dogs don’t intentionally eat bumble bees, but they may swallow them on accident when running open-mouthed through a field of flowers, digging in the ground, or playfully snapping at any bees that buzz past them.
So yes, dogs can and do eat bumble bees, much like they often eat other things they shouldn’t be eating. But if you just saw your favorite furry friend gulp up one of these stinger-equipped pollinators, should you be worried?
What Would Happen if a Dog Ate a Bumble Bee?
The good news is that, most of the time, your dog won’t suffer any negative effects from eating a bumble bee.
Sometimes, the bee is killed instantly when the dog bites down on it. If this happens, the dog will simply swallow the bee and it will be digested just like any other food.
Bumble bees are not poisonous; their stingers are capable of injecting venom, but no part of the bee’s body will be able to poison your dog during the digestive process. So, if your dog can kill and swallow the bee before it has a chance to sting, the dog will most likely escape without experiencing any unpleasant side effects from the encounter.
There are times, though, when the dog may attempt to swallow the bee before it has died. If this happens, the bee is most likely furious and terrified and may sting the dog’s mouth and throat multiple times in an effort to escape.
Sometimes, the bee will continue to sting even after the dog has swallowed it.
If your dog is stung in the mouth, throat, or anywhere along the digestive tract, he may experience pain and may vomit in an effort to remove the irritant. The skin may swell around each sting site, which can cause breathing difficulty or trouble eating until the swelling subsides.
This swelling may or may not be dangerous depending on how bad it is and how much it constricts the air passages. If the dog is actively struggling to breathe or the swelling doesn’t subside within a day or so, take him to the vet immediately.
In rare cases, the dog may experience anaphylaxis, or allergic reaction, in response to eating or getting stung by a bumble bee. You can learn more about anaphylaxis in the video below, and we’ll discuss it in greater detail in the following section.
What Happens if a Dog Gets Stung by a Bumble Bee?
In most cases, dogs don’t experience any long-term problems from getting stung by a bee. If they are stung in the throat or mouth, they may experience some localized swelling and pain that could make breathing or eating difficult, but this usually passes within a day or so.
As noted above, bumble bees are venomous, not poisonous. This means that, while getting stung by a bee can result in mild reactions to the venom, swallowing a bee most likely won’t cause any problems to the digestive tract.
If your dog gets stung, though, regardless of the location of the sting, there is a small chance your furry friend may develop more severe symptoms. The dog may experience anaphylaxis if he is allergic to bumble bee venom.
According to the American Kennel Club, the following symptoms may result if your dog is allergic to bee stings:
- Difficulty breathing
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, call your vet immediately. They may recommend giving the dog a Benadryl tablet or bringing them into the clinic for an examination.
Dogs may not begin experiencing these symptoms right away; it may take up to 24 hours for them to begin displaying symptoms of allergic reaction. If you know your dog has eaten a bee, keep a close eye on them over the next day or two and watch for changes in behavior.
Dogs are curious and they like flying things, so it isn’t uncommon for them to eat and swallow bumble bees. If your furry friend just ate a bee, he will probably be fine; but keep an eye on him for several hours to make sure he doesn’t experience any symptoms of anaphylaxis related to a bee sting.
If he experiences severe breathing issues, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, lethargy, or collapsing, get him to the vet immediately.