Being stung by a scorpion is unlikely to kill your dog. But it could definitely ruin his day! Knowing how to properly care for your pup will help you both if he has an unfortunate meeting.
Think you only need to worry about scorpions in the desert southwest? They can actually be found in 29 states! So your dog could be stung by scorpion when you least expect it.
And now that we’re living in southern Arizona, scorpion sightings are fairly common. So far, we’ve always seen them before Myles! But if that situation changes, it could be necessary to treat him for a scorpion sting.
Disclosure: I am not a veterinary professional, just a concerned pet parent. These tips should be practiced with extreme caution. If your dog is stung by a scorpion, you should call your veterinarian immediately.
Is A Scorpion Sting Dangerous For A Dog?
I didn’t have the first clue about scorpions. As far as I knew they were deadly. And their venom could bring a quick end to me or my beloved pooch.
In truth, though all scorpions are venomous, only about 50 of the almost 1,500 known types of scorpions worldwide are dangerous to humans. And of those, only one — the bark scorpion — lives in the United States.
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The maximum length of a bark scorpion is 2.5 inches. Their bodies are tan, and their backs are slightly darker in color. They have delicate pincers, legs, and tails.
The bark scorpion common in Arizona, western New Mexico, southern Utah and Nevada, and even in parts of southern California. And we’ve seen several since we moved to Bisbee.
While seeing scorpions is disconcerting, and being stung can be serious, it’s also good to keep in mind that just one human death from the Arizona bark scorpion has been reported since 1964.
Though a scorpion sting isn’t likely to cause serious harm to your dog, it’s important to how to help your pup if he tangles with one.
How Dogs Can Avoid Scorpions
The best way to protect your dog from a scorpion sting is to avoid scorpions! But dogs are an inquisitive bunch, always sticking their noses into places where scorpions could be hiding.
Keep in mind, the bigger the scorpion, the less venom they carry. Therefore, you’ll want to be especially wary of small scorpions, like the Arizona bark scorpion.
Here are a few tips to help keep your pooch from bumping into a scorpion:
1. Keep Your Dog Leashed
Keeping your dog on a leash while walking or hiking is a good way to avoid all kinds of potentially unpleasant critters — including scorpions.
2. Work On Recall
If you plan on hiking with your dog off-leash, brush up on their training. The more quickly your dog obeys your commands, the safer he’ll be. Commands like “leave it” and “come” are handy for all types of adventures.
3. Be Especially Vigilant At Night
Scorpions are nocturnal, staying tucked away until the sun goes down. So keep your dog from sniffing brush, piles of leaves, and other good scorpion hiding spots, especially after dark.
4. Don’t Let Your Dog Dig
As well as living under rocks and in crevices, many species of scorpion live in burrows underground. If your dog likes to dig, the scent of the scorpion could attract him, and digging up a scorpion burrow is a good way to get stung.
5. Get a UV Light
If you’re really concerned, invest in a UV light. They make scorpions glow bright green, so they’re easy to spot on your patio or inside the house.
A scorpion under a UV light. Some scientists have said that this is just a random act of evolution. Others claim that their external skeletons can detect UV light allowing them to distinguish night from day.
What If Your Dog Is Stung By A Scorpion
Despite your best efforts, it’s possible that your dog could still be stung by a scorpion. If you suspect that’s happened, finding a vet is a priority.
The severity of a scorpion sting depends on the size of your dog, the type of scorpion, the amount of venom released, and your overall dog’s health.
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A word of caution: Scorpion stings are very, very painful so you must do whatever you can to relieve your dog’s pain. These steps could take two people because your dog might struggle to get away. Stick with it – your dog will be grateful later.
Until you’re able to get to a vet, there are some immediate actions you can take to help your dog:
If you can locate the stinger and safely remove it, do so using tweezers. Put the stinger in a container — it could be used to identify the type of scorpion that stung your pet.Wash the affected area with cool water and then apply a cool compress (not ice) for ten minutes. When that time is up, let the sting breathe for ten minutes and then reapply the compress for another ten minutes.If your dog is stung and you can safely catch the scorpion (or if it’s dead) bring it along to the vet for identification. Knowing the type of scorpion will help assess the severity of the situation.
Road to Recovery
Depending on the severity of the sting, your vet is likely to prescribe pain relievers for your pet. Typically, the medication will make your pup tired and foggy.
You should continue to monitor your dog for several days to be sure there’s not a delayed reaction to the venom. If you see any of these symptoms, it’s time for another trip to the vet!
DroolingLimping or loss of coordinationWatering, blood-shot eyes and dilated pupilsUncharacteristic urination and defecationMuscle tremorsDifficulty breathingAbnormal heart rate (Learn to take your dog’s pulse)HivesSwelling of face and throatLethargy
After a few days, your buddy should be back to his normal self.
If you live in or are traveling to an area where scorpions are common, ask your vet about giving your dog antihistamines in the event of a scorpion sting. In the correct dosage, antihistamines are safe for dogs and can help relieve some of the symptoms related to a scorpion sting.
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