Despite your best efforts, did your doggo eat a centipede? It happens to even the most attentive pet parents so don’t fret. Here’s all you need to know about a centipede bite or sting in your dog, how to treat it, and how to prevent it from happening again!
Are Centipedes Poisonous to Dogs? You’ll be relieved to know that most of the time, not, centipedes are not poisonous to dogs. However, most of them do have a defense spray that they give off to protect themselves which can cause an allergic reaction to some dogs. Also, many centipedes can and will bite your dog, and this can leave them feeling as though they’ve been stung by a bee or a hornet, etc. If your doggo has eaten the centipede or it has been bitten or stung him, the most likely scenario is that he will be mildly irritated, but otherwise fine.
The size and type of centipede is also a factor. While most house centipedes are virtually harmless, some can be poisonous. The size of your dog can also play a factor. The smaller the dog, the more likely that a centipede will cause a reaction. Lastly, if your dog is allergic to centipedes, his reaction will also be stronger to an encounter, bite, or sting.
House centipedes vs millipedes
Of the two, centipedes are more dangerous than millipedes. This is because of their overall, mostly. Centipedes will often defend themselves by biting or stinging your dog if it tries to gobble up a tasty snack. Millipedes, on the other hand, tend to be more docile. Instead of attacking, they’ll release their defense spray and then curl up in a tiny ball and try to disappear.
You don’t necessarily need to know the difference between these two, but sometimes a vet — if one is needed — will ask if you know which one that he ate. If you do see your dog interacting with the bug, keep a note of these differences in their behavior.
How poisonous are centipedes to dogs?
Most centipedes are not poisonous to dogs, but there are a few very —terrifyingly — large wild ones out there that can, not only cause incredible pain to your doggo but may even be a fatal encounter. Some of the most dangerous ones include the Giant Scolopendridae, the Scolopendra Cataracta, and Scolopendra Cingulata. There are other poisonous ones, but these are thought to be the worst of them. Since these are wild ones, though, these are not the ones that you’re likely to find hanging around your house, though, which can be a relief.
As far as house centipedes, most of these are harmless as far as their strength of venom is concerned. That being said, if you have a den of them that your doggo stumbles upon, it’s possible that — like bees — a series of stings or bites could cause him a stronger reaction.
What do I do if a centipede bites my dog?
If you’ve discovered that your dog has been bitten or stung by a centipede, here are the steps to take to help him and you get through the experience as painlessly and as free from stress as possible.
Separate them as soon as you can
While it’s not all that fun to go fishing around in your dog’s mouth especially with a squirmy centipede — ew — you’ll want to get him to drop it as soon as you can Whether it’s a command that he knows from you to drop whatever is in his mouth, or it’s your manually making him do it, you’ll want to separate them as quickly as possible.
Stay calm and controlled to help him stay calm and controlled
Your doggo is going to feed off of your energy, so you’re going to want to keep your own energy soothing, calm, and loving. Even if you’re internally freaking out, keep your voice and touch gentle as you comfort your doggo and let him know that he is okay and safe. This will do a lot to minimize his physical and emotional reaction to it.
Check him over for signs of a bite or sting
Once you’re both calm and (ideally) inside your home where he can’t get himself into any trouble, you’ll want to check him over for any indications that he’s been bitten or stung (more on that later). Once you know where the site is, you can keep an eye on it as well as other symptoms.
Call your vet and follow their instructions on monitoring
Even if your dog appears to be fine, you’ll want to call your vet and let them know what happened so that they can determine whether he should be brought in immediately, or what potentially serious symptoms to watch for. You expect questions such as whether he ate it or was stung/bitten, and how long has it been since it happened, and others.
When in doubt, take him in
Even if your pooch seems fine, or your vet says it’s okay, don’t h estimate to take him in just to be safe. Just like with anything else, having an expert sign off and tell you that your pooch is fine can really do a lot for your overall peace of mind.
Symptoms of a centipede bite or sting on a dog
So, what to the actual symptoms of a bite or a sting on a doggo look like? Pretty much like every other kind of bite, really. If he has been bitten or stung (or is otherwise having a reaction), you’ll notice some or all of these symptoms.
A bump or a hive from the bite/sting
The area where he was bitten or stung will often be raised and red. It may be swollen, or it could just look like a regular bug bite. If you look closely enough at it, you’ll notice tiny little pinpricks which is where the bites or sting marks are within it.
Increased licking or attention to the sting
Since it’s uncomfortable and most likely mildly painful, your doggo will start licking or picking at the problem area to help curb the discomfort. Take note of where he picks and how much he picks, as this can give you a good idea of his pain level.
Excessive drooling (inflammation response)
If you notice that he is immediately drooling, this is actually called an inflammation response and it most likely means that there is a bite or sting in your dog’s mouth. It’s important not to punish your dog for drooling because it’s a biological response and he can’t control it. Not to mention it’s also going to clean the wound and help him heal faster.
Pain or discomfort
Your doggo may seem in pain or uncomfortable, too. Maybe he’s whining, maybe it’s panting, or he just seems off to you, as his loving and attentive pet parent. In this case, the pain may be significant enough that you’ll want to consider taking him to a vet to make sure that everything is okay.
Lack of appetite, restlessness
Either lack of appetite or restlessness — or both — are signs that he is really struggling with the bite or sting from the centipede. If you notice either or both of these symptoms, you’ll definitely want to put in a call to your vet and see if you can take him in for an appointment to make sure that he is okay.
How to treat a centipede bite on a dog
You can do some great first aid right at home if you’ve got an issue with your dog’s bite or sting. This can help calm his emotional and physical discomfort, and also make sure that you can do something with your own nervous energy, too!
Rinse the area with cold and clean water
Check the wound for stingers or poisonous hairs and remove them (carefully). Then wash the area out with cold and clean water, using a damp cloth. Don’t use detergents or sprays, as this may worsen a reaction (especially since doggos tend to be sensitive to a lot of skin products). Liberal use of cold and clean water will do well.
Use ice to cool the skin
If there is discomfort or pain on the skin for your doggo, to the point where he keeps picking at it, you can help ease the swelling and the pain by using ice in a towel to relieve it. Test it on yourself first to make sure that it isn’t too cold, and then hold it to your dog’s skin for a few minutes. Do this a few times until he doesn’t seem impacted by it anymore.
Be careful, though, to make sure that it’s normal swelling rather than an allergic reaction. If the swelling doesn’t go down or it seems like a lot of swelling for something as simple as a bite, give your vet a call! Better safe than sorry, right?
What attracts house centipedes?
Now that you’ve got the bite dealt with, you want to make sure that you’ve got a plan to help keep him free from the problem in the future. Centipedes are plentiful outside around the world, but you can get house centipedes, too.
Centipedes make themselves comfortable in their home because they have a safe place to make their nest and they have plenty of food. If you take away both of those things, they will move on to someone else’s home that has those things instead.
As far as those attractions themselves, centipedes and love basements or crawl spaces especially. They make their homes in those dark and moist corners and especially love hiding behind boxes and other slightly damp basement belongings. Since these are also popular spots for spiders and other food sources, they will have access to an all-you-can-eat buffet, too. So…why would they leave?
How to get rid of centipedes without harming my dog
Got a case of the creepy crawlies and want to do what you can to evict these many-legged house pests without harming your dog through chemicals? These ideas are all-natural and can actually work better than chemicals since they fix the problem rather than put a bandaid on it.
Get rid of their habitats
Make it clear that you don’t want them down in your basement or storage space by getting rid of those spaces. No, not literally your basement! Just tidy up the basement by keeping it clean, bright, and dry. Not only is it great for kicking out centipedes, but it’ll also help curb mold and other pests.
Keep your storage stuff on shelves rather than on the floor
When storing things in your basement, invest in durable shelving and store your belongings there, spaced out and off the ground. This leaves these creepy crawlies nowhere left to live and they’ll scuttle off to someone else’s home.
Make sure there are no points of entry
Most centipedes will get in through a crack in your foundation, a weaned window or a door frame, etc. Make sure that you have a strong line of defence by getting your home checked for those common weakened areas and reinforcing them with cocking and even preventatives such as window screens on your windows that you open regularly.
Keep your home clean
No, seriously! Centipedes live in the damp and dusty areas where their food lives. So, keep your home clean and dust bunny free and you’ll find that these pests will find it too clean and will go elsewhere. Talk about an incentive to clean right?
Air out your home regularly
Since centipedes love moisture, air out your home with fresh air regularly, especially in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. This dries up the moisture and will prevent them from checking out your home in the first place.
Keep your yard clear of dead wood or excessive stones
You’ll want to keep anyone from hitching hiking a centipede in, too. This means that your yard should be clear from dark moist areas such as under dead wood of layers of large garden stones, which are perfect habitats for them.
When in doubt, call a pro
If you need extra help or want a little bit of support in making sure that you don’t have a nest already in your home — more common than you’d think — you can always call in a pest control company and have them check out all of the nooks and crannies for you. Not only will they check out the problem, but they can also help ease your mind a lot.
Your dog may not understand that a centipede is not food or a playmate, but you can do your part to keep their interactions as safe and as minimal as possible!