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My Dog Ate a Wasp: Our Vet Explains What to Do

Dr. Kim Podlecki, DVM (Vet)

By Dr. Kim Podlecki, DVM (Vet)

Wasps standing on wasp nest

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Dr. Kim Podlecki

DVM (Veterinarian)

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In the summer, your dog may love to lie outside sunbathing, soaking in the nice weather. What they typically don’t love, however, is a wasp or bee flying around them. Often dogs will snap and try to catch and/or eat any type of buzzing insect that is near them. If your dog has a bright-colored collar and/or halter, they may attract even more wasps. But what should you do if your dog actually catches and eats a wasp? In this article, we will discuss just that.


The 7 Steps If Your Dog Ate a Wasp:

1. First Things First, Don’t Panic

Your dog has already caught the wasp. Sometimes your dog may just catch the wasp in their mouth, letting them go as soon as their mouth gets stung. Other times your dog may actually swallow and eat the wasp. Staying calm will help you to act rationally in addition to your dog feeding off of your calm energy.

Closeup of young white great pyrenees dog looking up with brown eyes and person owner petting touching back
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

2. Do Not Force Your Hand or Any Other Object into Your Dog’s Mouth or Throat

When people see their dog eat something they shouldn’t, their first instinct may be to reach in and try to grab the object out. However, this will cause your dog to panic, you may get bitten (both by your dog and then the wasp), and chances are you won’t be successful. Leave your dog’s mouth alone.

3. Don’t Pour Anything into Your Dog’s Mouth

As above, forcing anything into your dog’s mouth or down their throat can be much more harmful than helpful. Not only are you risking your dog choking or aspirating the liquid, but the liquid itself may cause harm. If your dog doesn’t swallow the liquid but rather inhales it into their lungs, they are at risk for developing severe, if not fatal, pneumonia. Just don’t do it.

wheaten terrier dog with his owner
Image Credit: katamount, Shutterstock

4. Monitor Your Dog for Vomiting, Weakness, Collapse

When an animal suffers an acute anaphylactic reaction, a few things typically will happen. Often the animal will vomit following the cause of the reaction. Your dog may or may not vomit up what they swallowed. Your dog will then become severely weak, caused by a significant drop in blood pressure. They will often collapse, become pale, and start to have difficulty breathing. Anaphylactic reactions in dogs will typically occur within minutes following an incident. If it’s been hours since your dog swallowed the wasp and none of the above have occurred, they are likely out of the woods for an acute severe reaction. However, if you notice vomiting, weakness, and collapse, you should seek emergency veterinary care immediately.

5. Monitor for Swelling, Hives, Itching

Depending on your dog’s coat, you may or may not notice hives, redness, and irritation developing along their skin. It may be much easier to notice a swollen face and muzzle, swollen and red ears, and itchiness. Your dog may start to rub their face obsessively, scratch their ears, rub their head along the carpet, or start to lick their belly and groin. Itching, hives, redness, and irritation may develop hours after your dog swallowed the wasp and will vary in severity.

Worried woman taking care of weakening old dog at home
Image Credit: DimaBerlin, Shutterstock

6. Contact Your Veterinarian, an Animal Poison Control Center, or a Telehealth Veterinarian

In many states, it’s illegal for veterinarians and staff to give advice, even OTC drug doses, over the phone to owners. This is because a valid doctor-patient-client relationship has to be formed in order for this advice to occur legally. Because of this, we cannot give you a dose of Benadryl to give to your dog in this article. However, if you have been to your veterinarian within the last year, are able to call a veterinary poison control center, or complete a virtual telehealth consultation with a veterinarian, this information can likely be provided. It’s important that you only give the type and dose of medication recommended by the veterinary staff. There are a number of human, OTC cold/antihistamine medications that can be severely harmful and even fatal if given to your dog. Never give your own prescribed epinephrine or other human medication.

7. Give Recommended Medications, and Follow Up as Needed

If your dog has an anaphylactic reaction, emergency veterinary care should be sought immediately. If your dog develops hives, itching, and/or redness, and you have been instructed to give Benadryl (or another medication) by a veterinarian, give as directed and wait. If your dog is only suffering a mild allergic reaction, the welts and itching should start to improve within 30–60 minutes after receiving the medication. You may need to repeat as directed a few times. However, if the hives persist, worsen, or continue to come back, veterinary care should be sought.

a french bulldog given oral medicine through syringe
Image Credit: JOKE_PHATRAPONG, Shutterstock

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Dogs will often chase bees, wasps, mosquitos, flies, and other buzzing insects around the yard. If they are being bothered by them, your dog may even try to eat them. If you see your dog eat a wasp, or suspect it, the first thing you want to do is stay calm. Never try to reach your hand in their mouth or pour any type of liquid into their mouth and down their throat. This can be extremely harmful. If your dog suffers an anaphylactic reaction, you should seek immediate veterinary care. If your dog seems OK, or only develops mild hives, itching, and redness, we recommend contacting your veterinarian or a telehealth veterinary provider. They can give you an appropriate dose of OTC medication, based on your dog’s weight, that you can give at home. This may be all that is needed. However, if these medications don’t work and/or your dog gets worse at any time, urgent veterinary care should be given.

Featured Image Credit: eleonimages, Shutterstock

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