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Are Centipedes Dangerous To Dogs: (Updated FAQ Guide)

Dogs are known for their curiosity, and more often than not, this curiosity leads them into the path of various insects and critters, including centipedes.

But, are these many-legged critters dangerous to our canine companions? Let’s break it down question by question.

are centipedes dangerous to dogs

Can Centipedes Bite or Sting Dogs?

Centipedes can indeed bite dogs, although it’s not common.

These critters prefer to stay out of the way of bigger creatures like dogs and humans.

They have a pair of venomous claws called forcipules that they use to paralyze their prey.

Thankfully though, the venom is generally not strong enough to cause significant harm to a dog.

A bite from a centipede may cause temporary discomfort, redness, and minor swelling, similar to a bee or wasp sting.

Are Centipede Bites Dangerous to Dogs?

While centipede bites can be painful to dogs, they are not typically life-threatening.

The main concern is the possibility of an allergic reaction to the venom.

Just like some people can have severe reactions to bee stings, the same is true for dogs and centipede bites.

Symptoms of a serious reaction can include excessive drooling, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea.

If you notice any of these symptoms after a centipede encounter, it’s important to take your dog to the vet right away.

What About House Centipedes?

House centipedes are generally less dangerous to dogs than their outdoor counterparts.

This is because house centipedes have less potent venom, and their forcipules aren’t typically strong enough to penetrate a dog’s skin.

That said, any interaction between a dog and a centipede should be monitored to prevent potential harm.

5 Types of Centipede

Centipedes come in various types, and while they all have venomous claws, their danger to dogs varies, mostly depending on the potency of their venom and their size. Below are some common types of centipedes:

House Centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrata):

These are the centipedes you’re most likely to encounter indoors. They’re generally less dangerous to dogs than other types of centipedes. Their venom is not very potent, and their small size means their claws often can’t penetrate a dog’s skin.

Garden Centipedes (Lithobius forficatus):

These common outdoor centipedes have a more potent venom than house centipedes, but they are still relatively small, and their bites are not usually a danger to dogs. They can cause some localized discomfort and swelling.

Stone Centipedes (Lithobiomorpha):

Stone centipedes are similar to garden centipedes in terms of venom potency and size. They pose a low danger to dogs but can cause slight irritation or discomfort if they bite.

Tropical Centipedes (Scolopendromorpha):

These centipedes, which include the giant centipede, can grow very large and have more potent venom. While not typically fatal to dogs, a bite from one of these centipedes can cause significant pain, swelling, and potentially an allergic reaction.

Desert Centipedes (Scolopendra heros):

Also known as the giant desert or Texas redheaded centipede, these centipedes have a strong venom that can cause significant pain and swelling in dogs. While still not usually life-threatening, they are one of the more dangerous centipedes to dogs.

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What is in Centipede Poison?

Centipedes possess venomous claws known as forcipules, which they use to paralyze their prey. The venom is a mix of proteins and peptides designed to incapacitate small creatures quickly, causing cell disruption or death.

While this venom can cause a painful reaction in dogs and humans, including redness and swelling, it’s typically not lethal. The reaction can vary based on the species of centipede and the individual’s sensitivity to the venom.

Some dogs might have a more severe reaction, potentially due to an allergy to the venom’s components, causing symptoms like difficulty breathing, excessive drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea.

In these cases, immediate veterinary attention is crucial. However, while centipede venom can lead to discomfort and allergic reactions, it’s generally not life-threatening for dogs.

It’s still best to keep dogs away from centipedes for their safety and well-being

Can Dogs Get Sick from Eating Centipedes?

Dogs that chow down on centipedes might experience mild to moderate gastrointestinal upset.

Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy.

While this is generally not severe, prolonged symptoms or severe distress warrant a visit to the vet.

Are Some Dogs More at Risk Than Others?

Just like with other potential hazards, some dogs are more at risk than others.

Puppies, older dogs, and dogs with compromised immune systems are more likely to experience negative effects from a centipede bite.

Additionally, small dogs may also be more affected due to their size.

So, if you’v got either a young pup or senior dog, it’s important to keep these little critters away from them as much as possible.

Steps to Take If Your Dog Has Been Bitten By a Centipede

If your dog has been bitten by a centipede, follow these steps to ensure their safety and comfort:

  1. Remain Calm: First and foremost, stay calm. Your dog will pick up on your anxiety, which can exacerbate their own stress and discomfort.
  2. Remove Your Dog from the Area: To prevent further bites, get your dog away from the centipede and area of contact as quickly and safely as possible.
  3. Examine the Bite Area: Look for signs of a centipede bite. This might include a small puncture wound, redness, or swelling.
  4. Clean the Wound: Gently clean the bite with warm water and a mild antiseptic soap. This will help prevent infection.
  5. Apply a Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress to the area can help reduce swelling and relieve discomfort.
  6. Monitor Your Dog’s Behaviour: Keep a close eye on your dog for the next several hours. Signs of a severe reaction can include excessive drooling, difficulty breathing, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  7. Seek Veterinary Attention If Necessary: If your dog appears to be in significant discomfort, or if they show signs of an allergic reaction, take them to a vet immediately.

Remember, while centipede bites can be painful, they’re usually not life-threatening to dogs. However, always err on the side of caution and seek professional medical advice if you’re unsure about your dog’s health or safety.

How Can I Protect My Dog from Centipedes?

Here are a few tips to help protect your dog from centipedes:

  • Regularly clean and maintain your home and yard to limit places where centipedes can hide.
  • Keep a close eye on your dog when they’re outside, especially in areas where centipedes are known to be found.
  • Teach your dog a “leave it” command, so they can learn to avoid potentially dangerous creatures.
  • Consider using a safe, pet-friendly insecticide to help control the centipede population.


Centipedes, including house centipedes, can bite dogs but it’s not a common occurrence. The bites themselves are not typically dangerous but could cause an allergic reaction in some dogs.

Dogs eating centipedes might experience mild gastrointestinal distress. Puppies, older dogs, and dogs with compromised immune systems may be more at risk.

If your dog encounters a centipede, separate them quickly, watch for signs of distress, and seek veterinary attention if needed.

Regular cleaning, supervision, and training can help protect your dog from centipedes.

Helpfuly resources:

  1. The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC): The NPIC provides information on various pests, including centipedes, and how to safely control them in an environment with pets.Website:
  2. VCA Hospitals: VCA Hospitals provides a wealth of information on pet health, including potential dangers from wildlife and insects.Website:


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.