Dog Stung By Scorpion (Signs, Symptoms, and DANGERS)

Published by I Love Veterinary

Updated on

I Love Veterinary blog is reader-supported, and we may earn a commission from products purchased through links on this page, at no additional cost to you. Learn more About Us and our Product Review Process >

Dogs and Scorpions 

It can be sad to have your dog stung by a scorpion. A dangerous combination is dogs and scorpions, especially if you live in the Southwest desert, where both creatures are common.

However, not all scorpions are equal. Only 25 species out of 1,500 are capable of killing a human. The poisonous bark scorpion in the Sonoran Desert is of particular concern to people and pets.


What Happens if a Dog Gets Stung by a Scorpion?

You might hear your dog howl in pain after a sting by a scorpion, and then you might see it hold one of its paws up in the air. It is possible to observe symptoms such as dilated and watery eyes, drooling, trembling or tremors, difficulty breathing, and even collapse as the venom passes through the body.

You should seek emergency medical assistance for your pet if you see any of these symptoms or have any reason to believe it was stung by a scorpion. Even though the venom of most scorpions in the United States is not lethal, you should consider any sting from a scorpion a medical emergency. 

Be sure to phone your veterinarian in advance of your appointment to let them know you will be there and ask for their advice on what you can do to help your pet at home before you head out.

While you are still going to the veterinarian, put ice on the wound and try to keep your pet from licking it. Your veterinarian will clean the scorpion sting dog wound and remove the stinger if it is still in the injury. They might also administer painkillers in the form of injections and prescribe additional painkillers in pill form for you to give your pet at home.

What is Scorpion Poisoning?

A scorpion is an eight-legged arachnid distinguished by its curved tail, which curls up and over the animal’s back. The only continent where you cannot find scorpions is Antarctica. The southwestern parts of the United States are home to most of the country’s scorpion population. 

The states of California, New Mexico, and Arizona all have dry and warm temperatures, making them ideal homes for scorpions. You can find them in countries that are both tropical and subtropical. 

They can make their homes in caverns, grasslands, caves, temperate woods, and even rainforests and savannas. Some species of scorpions even make their homes in snowy, mountainous places.

Every species of scorpion possesses venom, which it employs to immobilize and kill its prey. Despite what most people think, scorpions don’t often kill their prey with their poison but rather with their powerful pincers. 

It is generally agreed that a scorpion’s venom does not threaten the lives of humans or other animals but is effective in killing smaller prey. The enzyme inhibitors, neurotoxins, and other substances that make up scorpion venom remain in gland sacs. 

The animal will only release a certain amount of venom when it reaches a certain concentration. There are approximately a thousand different species of this type of spider.

Even though scorpion venom is not particularly dangerous, it is capable of causing pain and other unpleasant side effects. The venom of a scorpion called C. exilicauda affects the central nervous system. This scorpion is highly toxic. The arid and southwestern parts of the United States are typical habitats for this scorpion species.

When a scorpion poisons a dog, it is because the venom from the scorpion has made its way into the dog after it has been stung. Toxic properties result from the chemical components that make up venom.

What to do When Your Canine is Stung by a Scorpion

You need to know what to do if a dog gets stung by a scorpion. If you believe that your dog has a scorpion sting and you reside in an area where the Arizona bark scorpion is common, or if your dog is allergic to the stings or bites of other insects, you should take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

When you have a dog bit by a scorpion, call the animal hospital while you are still in the car to inform them that you are on your way and to provide them with information about the incident.

Suppose the symptoms escalate to the point where the face or head enlarges, there is difficulty breathing, muscle spasms, or altered consciousness. In that case, the situation needs emergency treatment, and your dog needs to go to the vet as quickly as possible.

Can Scorpions Kill Dogs?

Even though the venom from a dog stung by a bark scorpion can be fatal to a dog, there have only been a minimal number of fatalities documented when dogs had immediate access to veterinary care.

Dog Scorpion Sting Symptoms

Pain in a specific area is the most typical reaction a dog has after a scorpion sting. The dog may be licking or gnawing at the wound on its body.

However, most of the time, you need help determining why your dog favors one leg or paws at its face. Stings typically appear on the limbs and paws; however, they can manifest themselves elsewhere on the body. 

If you discover a small swollen spot, it could result from a sting from a scorpion or a bee or even a bite from an ant, and you may need to examine it more closely. The following are symptoms of scorpion sting in dogs:

  • Licking or chewing on the face or paw
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain
  • Drooling
  • Localized swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Muscle tremors
  • Uncontrolled urination or defecation
  • Paralysis

Dogs are significantly more likely to experience mild allergic reactions to scorpion venom than severe ones. The following are symptoms of an allergic (anaphylactic) reaction:

  • Swelling of the injury
  • Lethargy
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face and throat
  • Collapsing
Dog with redness in the eye

Canine Scorpion Sting Treatments

If a stinger is in the skin, you must remove it with extreme caution. The majority of dogs will feel significantly better after receiving an antihistamine. Make a call to get some recommendations and instructions from your vet.

You should try using a cold compress on the wound, and you should also try to get your dog to rest in a cool place. Because there is no known cure for scorpion stings that you can administer at home, the only thing you can do is treat the symptoms, including pain and swelling.

When administering first aid to your dog, if its condition deteriorates or does not improve, it is time to take it to the veterinarian. There, your dog will receive antihistamines or steroids, pain medication, wound care, and any other supportive care that it may require as necessary.

To our great good fortune, scorpion stings rarely result in fatalities. The veterinarian will keep a close eye out for any tremors in the muscles, elevated blood pressure, and any heart irregularities that may be present. The treatment consists of the following:

  • Cleansing.
  • After the stinger is out, the wound needs a thorough cleaning.
  • Medications to treat pain
  • A pain reliever will be best to reduce the inflammation and swelling caused by the sting.
  • Fluids.

The administration of fluids to the dog will be intravenous to ensure that it remains adequately hydrated during treatment and stimulate urination. This also helps reduce any edema or swelling that may develop at the location of the sting or in the surrounding area.

Scorpion Sting Relief at Home

There are certain first aid measures you may take to relieve your pet’s suffering and stabilize its condition at home if you cannot get it to the vet immediately. Initially, we advise keeping your dog or cat as still as possible. Circulation increases and the venom’s potential travels throughout its body by moving about.

Second, if you can find the sting site, use a pair of tweezers to remove the stinger carefully. Since your pet may feel discomfort, it is advisable to do this with assistance to calm and restrain your pet. Third, bathe the sting site with lukewarm water to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and use a cool compress for 10 minutes.

Fourth, you can treat any allergic reaction your dog or cat may have to a scorpion sting by giving them a Diphenhydramine, like regular Benedryl. Make sure you ask your physician for the proper dosage for your pet when you call because it depends on size and weight.

Last but not least, if you manage to capture or dispose of the offending scorpion, do so and bring it with you to the veterinarian so they can identify it. The sting of a scorpion is less toxic the larger it is. The ones that require the most attention are the little ones.

Preventing Scorpion Attacks on Canines

Avoiding scorpions is the greatest way to protect your dog from a sting. Dogs are naturally curious and poke their noses where scorpions might be hiding. Remember that scorpions carry less venom than larger scorpions. Take extra precautions around little scorpions like the Arizona bark scorpion.

Because they hunt for food and water at night, scorpions are nocturnal creatures. It appears like scorpions are omnipresent. Except for the bark scorpion, most scorpion stings feel like broken glass in your skin but are not dangerous. To prevent your dog from running into a scorpion, consider the following advice:

Seal Cracks and Gaps

Keeping your dog indoors and scorpions outside is the greatest method to protect it from scorpion stings. Small gaps in weather stripping and cracks in your home’s exterior are attractants for scorpions. 

Have someone shine a flashlight along your windows and doors at night while another person stands outside to look for light peeping through to check for gaps and cracks. Scorpions can flatten themselves like credit cards, so close any openings tightly.

Hunt Them at Night

A scorpion is not susceptible to insecticides or powders. If they do, it will pierce their incredibly resilient exoskeleton in 7 to 14 days. Now, powders and sprays will deter other bugs that scorpions enjoy eating. Because scorpions show brightly under black light, some people hunt them at night with black lights and a shoe. 

According to numerous neighbors and pest management firms, this method of avoiding scorpion stings is allegedly effective. Perhaps you will need one of my old sneakers and a black lamp.

Hire a Pest Control Company

There is a pest control business near you that sprays frequently. They walk into your property and point up openings and cracks that need sealing. Despite this, a scorpion somehow can still manage to enter your house. 

If you have a problem with bark scorpions, a holistic veterinarian advises using pest control agents. Bark scorpions can scale walls and stroll along ceilings, which is another reason you should hire a bug expert. They have the freedom to travel anyplace.

Keep Your Dog Leashed

When walking or trekking, keeping your dog on a leash is an excellent method to stay clear of any potentially unpleasant creatures, including scorpions.

Work on Recall

Refresh your dog’s training if you intend to go on an off-leash hike. The faster your dog responds to your commands, the safer he will be. For many kinds of excursions, commands like “leave it” and “come” are helpful.

Be Vigilant, Especially at Night

Because they are nocturnal, scorpions hide out until the sun sets. Therefore, especially after dark, prevent your dog from sniffing undergrowth, heaps of leaves, and other suitable scorpion hiding places.

Don’t Let Your Dog Dig

Many species of scorpions reside underground in tunnels in addition to living under rocks and in cracks. If your dog enjoys digging, the scorpion’s fragrance can draw it in, and unearthing a scorpion burrow is a surefire way to get stung.

Get a UV Light

Purchase a UV lamp if you’re genuinely worried. They cause scorpions to glow brilliant green, making them visible from inside the home or on your patio.

A List of Scorpions Poisonous to Dogs

Even though all scorpions have venom, most are not dangerous to larger dogs. This is because the poison is either moderate or produced in too little a dose to have a significant impact. Their small stature puts pups and small dogs more at risk. An allergic reaction to the venom is more likely to make a dog sick than the actual venom.

The Arizona bark scorpion is an anomaly since it has a lethal dose of venom. Southeast California, Arizona, western New Mexico, and south of the border are where you can find the Arizona bark scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus). They measure around 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) in length and are bright brown. 

Even though the poison from the sting of this scorpion might kill a dog, there are relatively few occurrences of fatalities when pets have access to veterinary care immediately. Certain scorpion species are far more poisonous than others. These kinds include:

  • Parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, and Mexico are home to the Arizona bark scorpion.
  • The Asian fat-tailed scorpion.
  • Brazil is home to the Brazilian yellow scorpion.
  • Israel-based Death Stalker discovered.
Dog licking paw

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prevent your pet from getting bitten if you reside where scorpions are common. Scorpions prefer to conceal themselves under rocks and in other areas your dog enjoys exploring. 

Fortunately, there is very little possibility that the scorpion bite would contain venom, but it can nonetheless be excruciating. Using the steps in this tutorial, you may securely transport your pet to the veterinarian for medical attention.

Sharing is caring!


Project dedicated to support and help to improve Veterinary Medicine. Sharing information and raising discussions in the veterinary community.


World Veterinary Day

Celebrating World Veterinary Day 2024

5 min read

how long can a dog go without pooping

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Pooping?

9 min read

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Drop your email below to join I Love Veterinary squad and enjoy regular news, updates, exclusive content, new arrivals and more!