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What To Do If Your Dog Is Stung by A Scorpion? Vet Approved Signs & Treatment

Written by: Ed Malaker

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Ed Malaker

Emperor Scorpion Close Up

What To Do If Your Dog Is Stung by A Scorpion? Vet Approved Signs & Treatment


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs are extremely curious, and it can get them in a considerable amount of trouble with other animals like porcupines, snakes, and even squirrels. Luckily, many of these encounters do not result in any harm to your pet, but if you live in more arid regions, scorpions are a major concern. They present a significant health risk because they often hide in places dogs poke around, and some species can deliver toxic venom along with a painful bite.

If you are worried about your dog and want to know what to do if it gets stung by a scorpion, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll discuss what signs you should be on the lookout for and list several things you can do to nurse your dog back to health so you will be ready if your dog needs you.


What to Do If Your Dog Is Stung by a Scorpion

1. Veterinary Treatment

The first thing you should do if you suspect a scorpion stung your pet is to take them to the vet immediately to have it looked over. If it is possible, it’s a good idea to take a picture of the scorpion and send it to your vet for identification and planning. If it is also possible, carefully collect it inside a container to relocate it safely and away from other humans and pets. If it was a poisonous scorpion, your pet might only have a few minutes, so there is no time to waste. You can do these next steps on the way to improve the odds of your pet having a full recovery. We recommend putting your dog in a carrier to keep it calm and prevent it from moving around, speeding circulation, and spreading the poison.

sick husky dog in vet
Image by: Pressmaster, Shutterstock

2. Cold Pack

In the meantime, a cold pack can help make the wound feel better, and it might also slow the spread of the poison. First, place a wet washcloth on the wound and put a plastic bag filled with crushed ice on top. If you don’t have enough ice on hand, you can use frozen vegetables, like peas or diced carrots.

3. Use a Cone Collar

As we mentioned earlier, many dogs tend to lick their wounds, and if stung by a poisonous scorpion, licking will only worsen the situation. The cone will eliminate any risk.

dog with cone collar
Image by: Iryna Kalamurza, Shutterstock

4. Baking Soda Paste

Create a paste from one tablespoon of baking soda and just enough water to make it spreadable. Applying this paste to the wound can help lessen the pain considerably, and the attention your pet is getting will help keep it calm. It’s messy and difficult to work into the coat, but it works well on the paws, belly, head, and rump. Please be sure your dog does not lick the baking soda off.

5. Antihistamine

Much of the pain and swelling associated with a scorpion bite comes from the dog’s white blood cells releasing histamine. An over-the-counter antihistamine like Benadryl, although not effective against the scorpion’s toxins, can help to reduce the signs of the sting. It can also make your dog sleepy, keeping them calm and preventing them from getting too active before you get to the vet. You need to be careful with the dose of Benadryl, though, so we recommend consulting with your vet about how much to give your pet. It’s better to know the right dose of Benadryl for your dog in advance so that you can be prepared in case of an emergency.

dog taking cbd oil
Image by: Erin Stone, Pixabay

6. Snug Bandage

If your dog gets stung on the tail or legs and you need more than 2 hours to get to the vet, you can place a snug bandage between the wound and the heart to slow the spread of any potential venom. An ace bandage on top can help keep it snug while you make your way to the vet.


Are Scorpions Poisonous?

Luckily, of the more than 30 scorpion species in the United States, there are only two poisonous ones: the Arizona Bark Scorpion and the Striped Bark Scorpion. The bad news is that you can find them in many states, including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. If you live in one of these states, you will need to be extra careful.

Arizona Bark Scorpion

female Arizona bark scorpion
Image by: Ernie Cooper, Shutterstock

The Arizona Bark Scorpion is golden yellow or light brown with a slender tail. The sting is extremely painful, and while most humans live, it can be potentially lethal to the elderly, small children, and pets. It averages about 1.5-inches long.

Striped Bark Scorpion

Striped Bark Scorpion on ground
Image by: Sari ONeal, Shutterstock

The Striped Bark Scorpion is slightly darker than the Arizona Bark Scorpion and has two dark gray stripes along its back. As they age, they get darker, and the stripes become harder to see. These scorpions are not as dangerous as the Arizona Bark Scorpion, but they still present a significant risk to children and small animals. These scorpions are slightly larger and often grow to exceed 2.5-inches long.


Signs of a Scorpion Sting

Non-Toxic Sting

Scorpion stings can be quite painful, and the non-poisonous ones will still produce intense pain that can last more than an hour. Once the pain subsides, your pet will likely experience numbness and tingling in the area where it was stung, which can last 24 hours.

Pets stung by a non-toxic scorpion will often whimper and yelp continuously. These pets will usually hold the bitten leg in the air and may lick the sting area.

Toxic Sting

If your dog receives a sting from a toxic scorpion, it will have the same signs as we just mentioned, but breathing problems, drooling, paralysis, and even death will accompany them. What’s worse is that the sting can result in death in as little as 15 minutes if your pet doesn’t receive treatment.



Unfortunately, if you live in a state with scorpions, there is little you can do to guarantee your pet won’t get stung. Scorpions like to hide under rocks and other places that your dog likes to sniff around. Luckily, there is only a small chance that the scorpion bite contains venom, but it can still be quite painful. The steps in this guide can help you get your pet to the vet safely for professional treatment.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: 12019, Pixabay

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