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What To Do If Your Dog Gets Stung By A Scorpion


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A scorpion sting may not kill your dog, but it’s definitely going to 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. If you believe scorpions are only a concern in the desert southwest, they can actually be found in 29 states! 

Surprised? Me too.

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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 holidays.

Plus, it means we can take our two Labradors, Ash and Logan, wherever we go. And this year we did just that – on a trip to Alicante, Spain.

Ash and Logan Dogs

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

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.

I’d assumed that scorpions were reserved to the wilds of Arizona or the desolation of the Sahara – not the 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 wasn’t sure 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!

Get these seven essentials for desert hiking with dogs!

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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 midnight air 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 fool, the vet emerged with an expression of fatigue and annoyance. That soon faded when he saw the state my poor dog was in.

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.

Get these tips for finding a veterinarian while you’re traveling

How To Find A Veterinarian While You're Traveling from the Pet Travel Experts at

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 uncompromising situations. Below are the lessons we learned from this trip.

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 can safely remove it then do so using tweezers.
  • If your dog is stung and you can safely catch the scorpion (or if it’s dead) then 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

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Disclosure: I am not a veterinary profession, and these tips should be practiced with extreme caution. If you 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’s learned 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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