Dogs and Bees

One of my other passions is bee keeping. As soon as I moved to the country, bees were top of the list. Bees play an incredibly important role in our environment. They pollinate a great many food items. Here's what your grocery store might look like without bees. Pretty sad. Bees, of course, also produce a myriad of useful resources - honey, wax, pollen, propolis, etc. Not only is honey yummy, it is scientifically shown to help with seasonal allergies. In addition to having antimicrobial properties, it is also known to aid in healing wounds. It is important to note that not all honey is created equal. Did you know that the majority of main-stream grocery store honey is produced by bees that are fed a constant diet of liquid sugar? The best honey, both in taste and health, is raw, local honey purchased from your local bee keeper or farmers' market.



How does this relate to dogs you may ask? Well, I'll leave the health benefits of honey for dogs up to the experts. A good example of someone who's researched this is my friend over at Keep The Tail Wagging. I want to discuss safety with dogs around bees.

Our hives are kept in the 'bee yard' which is essentially a couple of hives behind a natural fence. It is enough to keep the poodles away from the hives. They don't really have an interest in a box of buzzing bees, but I don't want them to start marking the beehives either, so that's why the fence is there. Both Teddy and D'Art have no interest in things that buzz. Teddy often will leave the room if a bee or fly is stuck in the house. The buzzing offends him. That said accidents happen and when living out in the country, with some distance between me and the vet, it is important to have a good first aid kit that addresses dealing with bee stings.



I don't know if the poodles are allergic to bees. They've never been stung in my care. On a side note, I've been keeping bees for 2 years now and I've never been stung either. Bees only sting if they feel threatened and then they die after stinging, so it isn't something they do for fun. Nonetheless, I have benadryl on hand at all times. In most cases (check with your vet) it is safe to administer benadryl to dogs if you follow these guidelines (1mg per 1lb of weight).

Another helpful tip is to know how to remove stingers. Bee stingers continue to pump venom even after the bee is long gone. It is best to avoid squeezing the stinger, but instead to scrape it off. Here's a few examples of how to do that. I'm not familiar with all of those suggestions, but scraping it out with a credit card is pretty common.

As we head into autumn, bees slow their activity down somewhat. They don't hibernate through winter - they congregate. They continue activity within the hive, but need to stay close to each other to retain heat.

Next time you see a bee, don't freak out. You have a lot to thank that bee for. If you aren't a bee person, we can still all get along - dogs included!



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