Bee Stings on Dogs

This time of year we find our pets enjoying long summer snoozes on fresh, green grass while basking in the sun. Along with the warm weather and green grass, come those pesky bees. And there is nothing they love more than to play a taunting game of “cat and mouse” with your canine companion! Going out into the back yard to find your dog puffed up like a marsh mellow may seem a bit comical at first, but it can also become quite scary. As a dog owner it is important to ask yourself if you know what to do if your dog swallows or gets stung by a bee. Will you be prepared if this happens while on a family camping trip, or in the wee hours of the morning?

The majority of bee sting reactions occur around your dog’s mouth or face. This is mostly due to your dog snapping at bees as they buzz by or from accidental encounters while their nose is to the ground sniffing all those wonderful scents at the park. Some dogs can have very mild reactions such as a slight swelling of the muzzle or face. While others can be quite severe involving blistering, seeping hives and massive swelling of the muzzle, face, eyes and throat! Some dogs can even develop symptoms of shock, much like their human companions can.

Whether the reaction looks mild or severe, it is always recommended to call your family veterinarian as soon as possible to get some advice. In the case of a severe reaction, don’t waste any time. Head to your family veterinarian or in some cases go directly to the closest vet hospital as soon as possible. It is also a good idea to have someone call ahead on your behalf, advising the clinic you are on your way. Most bee sting reactions can be treated fairly easily and quite quickly once you’ve arrived. This usually involves an exam by your veterinarian to make sure your dog is not exhibiting any signs of shock and that there are no concerns with his airway. Once examined, your dog will most likely receive an injectable antihistamine after which you’ll be asked to wait with your dog so your veterinarian as well as the support staff can monitor your dog to make sure the swelling/reaction is subsiding. You may also be given some oral antihistamines to continue treating your dog from home. The more severe cases can involve things such as hospitalization, IV fluids, emergency care such as placing a breathing tube and overnight care. However don’t let this scare you. Even though it can be impossible to completely avoid a confrontation between your dog and a taunting bee, most reactions can be treated fairly quickly.

If you’ve experienced a bee sting reaction with your dog in the past or have seen your dog snapping wildly at the air trying to catch a bee, you may want be pro-active and keep an oral antihistamine such as Benadryl on hand. If your dog always goes where you go, then keeping some antihistamine in your travelling first aid kit, in the camper or even in your backpack is never a bad idea. Always call your veterinary before administering any medications to your pet to make sure what you are using is appropriate and you are giving the correct dose.

If there is one thing we have seen over the years at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital, it is that when it comes to bee stings, most dogs just never learn. After going through a painful sting, a swollen/itchy face and even a traumatic trip to the vet hospital…..by time they get back home, they are already on the hunt, waiting for their next target to buzz by. If you would like more information of what you can do in the event a bee sting occurs, call your family veterinarian or give us a call at 250-334-8400.


Written by Van Isle Veterinary Hospital


Get a Cupcake and Support BC Animals in Need During Treat Week (Feb 24 - Mar 1, 2020)

Van Isle Veterinary Hospital is super excited to be hosting our 4th annual cupcake day fundraiser! BCSPCA celebrates “Treat Week” across the Province from Feb 24th – March 1st 2020 where business, pet owners and animal lovers can bake up a storm and sell treats with the proceeds going to BC animals in need.

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Last updated: March 30, 2021

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 25, 2020 the restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.


This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

As you can imagine, we have a significant backlog of surgeries and wellness/vaccine exams to catch up on and we will be working hard over the next several weeks to do just that. We want to thank everyone in advance for your patience while we work through this. Although restrictions have been lifted, our health and safety protocols have not. It is important we continue to follow the guidelines set out by Worksafe BC and social distance our large team as much as possible. This means although we can offer these elective services, we are doing much fewer during the day then we were pre-COVID.


We are very excited to welcome you back into our lobby! We have put some important safety measures in place to help keep our clients and our team safe.


The use of our online store for easy ordering, payment and delivery of our pet's food, flea and tick medications. Orders over $100 can be delivered to your home for free! CLICK HERE


During the first 8 weeks of COVID, we were operating as a 24-hour facility to better serve our community and to maintain social distancing within our team. However, as the COVID-19 situation changes, so do we!

Our team of doctors felt it was important to get back to performing your pet's much needed regular services. In order to do so safely, we had to once again change the way we do business. 

As such, effective October 6, 2020, we will no longer be available for after-hours, on call services between midnight and 7:00 am. After-hours emergency care will be referred to Central Island Veterinary Emergency Hospital between the hours of midnight - 7:00 am. They can be reached at 250-933-0913.

We will continue to be available until midnight for your call-in, after hours needs.

Our regular hours of operation remain the same:

Monday - Friday: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital