Why Do Dogs Try to Eat Bees?

dog sniffing bumblebee on a flower

Dogs do a lot of things that make sense to them, but seem weird or stupid to us. Eating bees is one of them and can be dangerous. Why do dogs try to eat bees? Here are a few reasons:

Why Do Dogs Try to Eat Bees?

Whether on purpose or by accident, there are many scenarios and reasons for why dogs try to eat bees.

1. They’re Attracted to the Movement

One of the biggest reasons dogs try to eat bees is because they move. Herding dogs, hunting dogs, and any dog with a high prey drive have an urge to chase and catch things that move.

This is often the reason they lunge and snap at bees. They may not be trying to eat them or swallow them, but it could be an accidental consequence from them playing.

2. Your Dog Thinks Chasing Bees is Fun

Whether they have an urge to chase anything that moves or they just enjoy running around, your dog could be chasing bees because it’s fun. In the process, they could end up snapping and eating a bee or a bee might fly into their open mouth.

3. They Could be Annoyed

If a bee is hovering or flying around your dog, the buzzing could trigger a snap reaction. At the same time, if the bee is annoying your dog, they may snap to try and get the bee to leave them alone. In this case, they could be attempting to eat the bee to make it go away or the bee could end up in their mouth by accident as your dog tries to get some peace.

4. Your Dog May Have Been Curious

Another one of the reasons dogs try to eat bees is because dogs use their noses and mouths to explore the world. If they’re curious about bees, they may attempt to sniff them or catch them in their mouths to figure out what they are. In the process, they can get stung and, hopefully, learn to leave bees alone in the future.

5. They Could be Afraid of Bees

Some dogs can develop a fear of flying insects, including bees, especially after being stung. This can result in aggressive behavior towards bees and cause them to chase them even more.

On the other hand, they could show anxiety and run away instead. Some dogs that develop this phobia will freeze at the sight of a bee and may even start trembling if they don’t run away.

6. Your Dog Could be Fly-Snapping

Fly-snapping is an obsessive-compulsive behavior in dogs where they can’t help snapping at flies, bees, and other flying insects. It occurs even when there are no flying insects around them.

Dogs who develop this disorder will snap at hallucinations or imaginary flies in addition to any that are actually there. Fly-snapping behavior can also be related to health issues and has been connected to digestive issues. Because of this, it’s important to visit your vet if you think your dog is fly-snapping.

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Bees

Although you don’t want your dog to eat them, bees are not toxic to dogs. The issue is with the sting. Bees are not poisonous, so your dog will not be poisoned from eating one. But, their stings are venomous and that can hurt your dog. Here’s what to do if your dog eats bees:

1. Get to the Vet if You Know Your Dog is Allergic

Some dogs are allergic to bees and can have life-threatening reactions if they are stung. You may already have a plan in place with your vet. If that is the case, then follow your vet’s instructions for when this happens.

If you know that your dog is allergic, but don’t have a plan already in place for dealing with stings, call your vet immediately. They may recommend a certain dose of Benadryl, which is one of the over-the-counter medications that are safe for dogs. Follow their recommendations and then get in to visit them.

2. Figure Out if They Actually Ate a Bee

If you didn’t see them eat a bee, you’ll need to check their snout, lips, and inside of their mouth. Make sure you check the gyms, tongue, and back of the throat to see if you can find the bee or see signs that they ate one.

3. Remove the Stinger if There is One

Since only honeybees leave stingers behind, you may not see a stinger if your dog has been stung by a bee, wasp, or another stinging insect. If you do see a stinger, you need to remove it carefully.

You don’t want to just pull it out or pinch it as this can release more venom from the stinger into your dog. Instead, use a credit card or other item to gently scrape in one direction against the skin to try and coax the stinger out.

4. Apply Ice if Needed

Bee stings can cause some swelling, redness, irritation, and itching. Your dog may yelp, whine, or show other signs your dog is in pain. To temporarily treat this and provide some relief, you can apply an ice pack or cold pack to the affected area.

5. Keep an Eye on Your Dog for the Next 24 Hours

After a sting, you want to keep an eye on your dog for the next 24 hours to make sure they aren’t showing any signs of a serious reaction. Some dogs can react badly to bee stings, especially if they are allergic.

Also, bee stings that occur in the mouth, throat, or stomach can cause swelling and other issues that affect breathing, digestion, etc. So, you want to keep an eye out for concerning symptoms in your dog and call the vet immediately if you see any of them.

Dogs do a lot of things for various reasons. And, it will often vary from dog to dog. Knowing what’s normal for your dog and what’s not can help you keep an eye on them and help keep them out of trouble, especially if they like to chase after bees.