What to Do If Your Dog Is Stung by a Scorpion

In the outdoors, our doggies cannot resist sticking their snouts into a variety of corners and crevices. However, in certain places, they may meet a scorpion that isn’t so friendly. Ouch!

So, what do to do when your dog gets affected by scorpions? It is based on what species you are dealing with.

The Scorpion species within the U.S.

There are around 70 species of scorpions within North America, and approximately 10 of them are found in the U.S. While they’re usually considered an animal found in deserts scorpions can be present in a variety of states beyond their native West and Southwest as well as Georgia, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, and Tennessee.

Here are a few of the most popular scorpion species in America:

  • Arizona bark is found all over both the Southwest and California
  • Big desert hair situated in Southwest and California
  • The big whip is a common sight throughout the South and Southwest
  • A less stripe tail often found located in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas
  • Northern The Northern region is located throughout the West, Northwest, and the Upper Midwest
  • Southern “Devil” without stripes typically found within South and Southeast
  • Bark with stripes is found throughout much of the southern and central parts of the U.S.
  • Tail with stripes typically found used in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas
  • The whip is tailless and is located throughout California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida

Are Scorpions harmful to dogs?

Sarah Carotenuto, DVM, DABVP is an associate professor at the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine. She believes that most scorpions that live in the United States don’t harm our pets significantly. Their venom is powerful enough to kill their prey, usually insects, but isn’t affect humans or dogs exactly the same way. “Though uncomfortable, the majority of scorpions found in the U.S. cause pain and numbness around the site of the sting that can last over a period of up to 72 hours,” She says.

Yet, Carotenuto says there is one scorpion that could be dangerous for dogs that’s scorpions that live in the Arizona Bark scorpion. “Most large dogs are able to handle stings however small dogs and cats are more susceptible to issues,” she explains.

The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center (APDIC) reports that in a smaller sample of citizen science research that included 65 dogs with 13 percent health issues, just 13 percent of larger dogs suffered from more serious symptoms, compared with the 39 percent who were smaller breeds.

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Scorpion Sting Signs

The first four hours are crucial in determining how your dog’s reaction to a scorpion’s sting.

“Animals tend to be infected on the nose when they are sniffing at scorpions or even their paws when they attempt to get a scorpion’s attention,” Carotenuto says. “In many instances when animals get stung, owners will see an oblique red mark on the spot (if the animal is willing to let you inspect the area). Infrequently, you’ll notice the animal chewing on their paws or even limping or rubbing their nose against the carpet in an indication of discomfort.” The yelping and bouncing back could also indicate scorpion stings.

If a smaller dog gets affected by a scorpion bite, the APDIC says they may exhibit other symptoms, such as:

  • Changes in the breathing
  • Drooling
  • Watery or dilated eyes
  • Unrest
  • Tremors

Carotenuto states that the specific signs of the Arizona scorpion’s bark are more severe, and include:

  • Pale gray gums
  • Acute vomiting or diarrhea
  • Acute collapse
  • A strange muscle flickers

To What to Do When Your Dog Gets Infected by A Scorpion

Visit your pet’s vet the moment you observe any signs or symptoms of an Arizona bark sting. If your pet got caught with scorpions different than one that is an Arizona bark and shows symptoms of generalized irritation, Carotenuto’s recommendation is to clean the area of a sting by using warm soap and water. After the area is clean apply a cooling compress.

Contact your doctor to inform them about the experience, particularly in the event that you find the stinger that is embedded. They may ask you to go in to get it removed. Your veterinarian may also suggest feeding your pet Benadryl.

Before visiting an animal vet clinic, Carotenuto advises taking a picture of the scorpion “if you’ve not smooshed it prior to going in” so that your vet will be aware of what’s going on.

“In general do not be concerned even if your vet advises you to watch your pet at residence,” she says. “Most animals need just some time and a little TLC, and will be fine.”

Treatment for Dogs Stung by the Scorpion

If your dog exhibits more severe scorpion sting signs or was bitten with an Arizona bark or is at risk of reaction anaphylactic to the sun (such ones attributed to the stings of bees) seeking professional help is essential.

Carotenuto suggests that your vet could administer intravenous fluids to your dog or diphenhydramine, epinephrine (Benadryl), or other remedies, based on the extent and severity of the. “There’s an antivenom that can be used to treat Arizona scorpions that sting the bark however it’s expensive and only a handful of veterinarians have it on hand since it’s most effective within 10-20 minutes after a bite,” she adds. “In an emergency, it’s possible to procure a vial from an animal trauma center if the situation calls for it.”


How to Prevent Stings from Scorpions

Scorpions are generally nocturnal, which means they’re active during the evening. To ensure your dog is safe from scorpions during an evening stroll and even during bedtime toilet breaks, Carotenuto recommends using a black light since most scorpions are able to glow under the beam. They are fond of hiding in dark areas, including under clutter, boards as well as logs, and rocks. Arizona barks are also found on trees, bushes, and even walls.


The scorpions are known to enter the home in search of water, and they can get through a variety of unprotected entrance points. The most popular places to nest are human and dog bedding and they can even hide in shoes. To get them out shake and clean your bedding often and make sure you check your shoes prior to you put them on.

If you spot an ominous, snarling creature in the area, the best way to stop your dog from being bitten by scorpions is to call an extermination company.

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