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What To Do If Your Dog Gets Stung By A Scorpion

If your dog is stung by a scorpion, it’s unlikely to kill him, but it will definitely ruin his day! I didn’t know how to properly care for our dogs if they were stung by a scorpion, so I was grateful when Emily Buchanan offered to share her experience in a guest post. 

Emily lives in the UK, and her dog was stung by a scorpion on a trip to Spain. But this situation could have easily happened in the United States. Think you only need to worry about running into scorpions in the desert southwest? They can actually be found in 29 states! 

Ty the Shar-pei from sitting on a rock in Red Rock Canyon, NV

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Camping Can Mean Encountering Critters

When seeking to avoid some of the stresses of traveling with kids, camping is a great option. Deep down in the cavernous peripheries of my girlhood, the sun-kissed, hippie inside me will always be in love with the idea of a camping holiday.

Plus, it means our two Labradors, Ash and Logan, can go too. And this year we did just that! Took the kids and dogs on a camping trip to Alicante, Spain.

Ash and Logan Dogs

Ash basking in the sun and Logan, in the background, with his favorite toy.

Preparation is Key

I like to think of myself as a savvy traveler. If backpacking around Asia in my early twenties was doable, camping in my mid *cough* late forties should be a breeze, right? But, up until now, I’ve never left the country with my dogs.

The campsite we chose was super pet-friendly. It even had an onsite vet that proved invaluable! And before we left the UK, I organized everything with military precision, packing an adult first aid kit, a kid first aid kit, and a dog first aid kit.

Our car was stuffed with safety precautions. However, I had overlooked one very important little thing: scorpions.


Out of 1,752 known species, only 25 species are capable of emitting fatal venom.

In my mind, scorpions were reserved to the wilds of Arizona or the desolation of the Sahara. We certainly weren’t going to find them in a sea-side resort on the Costa Blanca. Therefore, when Ash lay whimpering under the camper one night, and Logan was bashfully bating the grass with his paw, I couldn’t figure out what was going on.

It was only when Logan placed a dead scorpion proudly at my feet that I realized why Ash was hiding. He’d been stung!

READ MORE ⇒  Seven Essentials for Desert Hiking with Dogs

What If Your Dog Is Stung By A Scorpion?

I didn’t have the first clue about scorpions. As far as I was concerned they were deadly, and their venom would bring a quick end to my beloved pooch. I panicked, of course, and ran barefoot through the night with my seven-year-old Lab crying in my arms.

Only adrenaline carried me across the campground to the vet’s trailer. And, after banging on the door with the vigor of a deranged lunatic, the vet emerged with an expression of fatigue and annoyance. That soon faded when he saw the state of my poor dog!

Thankfully, the vet was fully equipped for this incident. Though Mediterranean scorpions aren’t fatal, they can mean bad business for dogs with an allergy to the venom.

The vet removed the stinger from Ash’s nose, applied a cold compress, and gave him a pain reliever and Benadryl. After a thorough checking over and some much needed love, Ash fell sound asleep on the vet’s floor.

Road to Recovery

Ash spent the next few days looking swollen and grumpy, but he was back to his old self by the end of the week. The only lasting effect is that he’s now petrified of beetles and insects.

Thus, I advise all pet owners to familiarize yourself with any potential threatening characters in the area you’ll be traveling. Make sure you know what the dangerous species look like, and never put yourself (or your dogs) in any questionable situations. Below are the lessons we learned from this trip.

READ MORE What You Should Know About Emergency Vets (Before You Need One)

How To Prevent A Scorpion Sting

  • Scorpions are nocturnal. However; if your dog is rooting around in the undergrowth or digging during the day he may very well disturb a nest and this could result in a scorpion sting. Therefore, keep him in sight and under control.
  • At night, it’s best to keep your dogs indoors. I wish I had! And before you go to bed, check your accommodations for scorpions. They stick to the shadows and are notorious for hiding in shoes.
  • Shake out your shoes before putting them on.
  • The larger the scorpion, the LESS venomous the sting. It’s the little ones need to watch out for.
  • If you’re really paranoid, get a UV light. They make scorpions glow bright green!
Scorpion Under UV

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 and therefore distinguish night from day.

What To Do If Your Dog Is Stung

Not everyone has such easy access to a vet while on holiday. We were very lucky. If you suspect that your dog has been stung, finding a vet is a priority.

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 might take two people because your dog may struggle to get away. Stick with it – your dog will be grateful later.

Until you’re able to get to a vet, here are some immediate actions you can take to help your dog:

  • Wash the affected area with cool water and then apply a cool compress for ten minutes. When that time is up, leave the sting to breath for ten minutes and then reapply the compress for another ten minutes.
  • If you can locate the stinger and safely remove it, do so using tweezers.
  • 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.


Symptoms To Watch For

After your pet receives medical attention, you should continue to monitor him 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!

  • Drooling
  • Watering, blood-shot eyes and dilated pupils
  • Uncharacteristic urination and defecation
  • Muscle tremors
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Collapse

Disclosure: I am not a veterinary professional, and these tips should be practiced with extreme caution. If your dog is stung by a scorpion, you should call your veterinarian immediately.

About the Author: Emily Buchanan lives in the U.K. with her husband, kids, and beloved dogs, Ash and Logan. She’s an avid traveler and enjoys sharing what she learns on her pet-friendly adventures.

Guest Posts on We love sharing stories from people having fun traveling with their pets! And reading your pet travel experiences may be just the nudge someone else needs to pack up and head out with their own best friend. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for Take Paws, let us know!



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  • vikas sudan says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this nice post, Linda! I love it

  • Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Linda! It sounds like you had a magical childhood and I completely agree with you that creepy crawlies can be found everywhere. It’s just a matter of being aware of the potential hazards in your area, and being knowledgable and prepared to handle any mishaps. Thanks again and waggin’ trails to you!

  • Please see above….also, my family: my husband, kids and a dog also lived in Reno and spent a lot of time at a friend’s house up on Mt Rose before golf courses, grocery stores and congested neighborhoods. She had horses and dogs and I always brought my German Shephard with me. We never had a problem as long as we watched out for them and kept them inside at night. I hope you have gotten a couple if “pooch pals” or do when the time is right and you are/will be all enjoying life despite the dangers that might also live amnong you and your family. :)

  • PLEASE do not put off getting a dog because you think you live in an area with dangerous creepy crawlies. They will turn up everywhere. Maybe not the same kind, but some kind of danger will be everywhere. Just learn about and be prepared for the dangers just as you do for yourself and your kids, if/when you have them for your pets. I grew up in North Tucson, AZ in the 1960s and 1970s. The roads that are six lane with major traffic to tons of neighborhoods now, WERE dirt and the neighborhoods were non-existant. Our back yard was one huge desert. I was very young when we moved to AZ, but remember coming across a Gila Monster on our third day in Tucson while walking the 75 yards or so we needed to go to get the mail. We constantly had scorpions, terantulas, spiders and bugs getting in the house even though we were careful to keep the doors closed. And we often came across snakes of all kinds that AZ has to offer as well as more Gila Monsters and got to go to sleep at night to the howeling of coyotes all my growing up years. We even had bats in out euceliptus (sp?) trees that would swoop down and steal a drink from our pool at night. Oh, and Colorado River Toads durrnig the monsoons. YET, with all of this wildlife around, my mother was able to successfully breed her two lovely Golden Retrievers and keep several litters of puppies safe. We had horses and the dogs successfully ran with us through the desert when we went riding. My best friend’s family also had two Goldens that were rarely sick. Out of all my years growing up with all kinds of pets, us kids broke bones or ended up with stitches from rough play in the desert, but out of all of my friends and our pets, I only recall one encounter with the wildlife…..other than the dang cats bringing us gifts of dead birds or rabbits. And we even went looking for snakes and bugs etc after rain storms, so its almost like we went looking for trouble. The one encounter was one of our Goldens who did, indeed get stung by a scorpion. His treatment was much like described above and after a few days he had forgotten what happened and was a bouncy, fun Golden again. And our indoor/outdoor cat, who often also tagged along for horseback trailrides or was often spotted a mile or more from our house, died in his sleep under our coffee table at age 22. Please don’t miss out on the companionship of a dog (or not give a needy dog a home) just because you are worried about your surroundings. Just learn who you live with and what precautions should be taken and what to do IF and encounter should happen. Then go out and enjoy life with your trusty companion. Not getting a pet…because you worry about them being in pain is NOT WORTH the loss of not having a dog. I promise you……having and enjoying your pet is sooooo worth taking the risk. Especially if you are prepared. So, go….. have fun and enjoy your pet(s)!!!

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