Are Centipedes Poisonous to Dogs? Protecting Your Dog from Toxicity (2024)

Are Centipedes Poisonous to Dogs? Protecting Your Dog from Toxicity


Ah, the creepy-crawlies that give us chills! Centipedes may be fascinating creatures, but did you know that some of them can be dangerous to our beloved dogs? It’s essential to understand centipede toxicity and how to protect our furry friends from these many-legged house pests. So let’s dive into the world of centipedes and learn, are centipedes poisonous to dogs, and how to keep our dogs safe from their potential harm.

Short Summary

  • Centipedes can be venomous or poisonous, and it’s important to recognise the signs of a bite on your dog.
  • Treat centipede bites with first aid measures like cleaning the wound & applying a cold compress, and follow up with veterinary care.
  • Prevent encounters by keeping your home clean & dry, using natural repellents or professional pest control services.

Understanding Centipede Toxicity


Centipedes may seem like just another type of creepy-crawly, but they can actually be quite dangerous. Some species, such as the Scolopendra type, are venomous or poisonous, posing a potential threat to our pets.

Most centipedes are not a danger to dogs, but it’s essential to be aware of the risks associated with venomous species like the Amazonian Giant Centipede.

Venomous vs poisonous

So, what’s the difference between venomous and poisonous centipedes, you ask? Venomous centipedes sport venomous claws and fangs, using them to inject venom into their prey or as a defense mechanism. On the other hand, poisonous centipedes release toxins that can be harmful if ingested or if they come into contact with the skin. If a dog attempts to bite or play with a centipede, it’s highly likely that the centipede would sting in self-defense, potentially causing harm to the dog.

Although centipede stings can be painful, most of them result in nothing more than mild irritation, similar to an ant or bee sting. Smaller centipedes don’t have forcipules (fang-like legs) strong enough to break through the skin of larger mammals. So, if your pet gets stung, it’s probably going to be by a bigger species. Still, it’s unlikely that a centipede sting will be deadly to your furry friend.

Common types of venomous centipedes

Some centipedes are more dangerous than others due to their venom potency. Species of the Giant Scolopendridae family are believed to be the most dangerous. Members of this family include Scolopendra Cataracta and Scolopendra Cingulata. The Mediterranean Banded Centipede, found in Southern Europe and around the Mediterranean, is relatively mild compared to these giant centipedes.

Another venomous centipede, the Giant Desert Centipede, usually resides in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. While it’s unlikely to make its home indoors, it’s essential to be aware of its presence in your surroundings.

House centipedes, on the other hand, are generally not harmful to dogs, as their venom is usually harmless to our four-legged friends.

Recognising Centipede Bites in Dogs


If your dog has been bitten by a centipede, it’s crucial to recognise the signs and symptoms to ensure their wellbeing. Symptoms of these bites in dogs can include swelling, redness, puncture wounds, drooling, pain, and restlessness.

By identifying these signs early on, you can seek the necessary veterinary care to give your dog the best chance of a full recovery.

Physical symptoms

Physical symptoms of centipede bites in dogs can vary from mild to severe, depending on the size of the centipede and the amount of venom injected. You should check for swelling, redness, puncture wounds or pin-like pricks on your dog’s skin. In some cases, more severe symptoms might include excessive drooling, difficulty breathing, and vomiting.

If your dog exhibits any physical symptoms of a centipede bite, it’s essential to seek veterinary care right away. Your vet may suggest medications to reduce swelling and pain, as well as antibiotics to prevent infection.

Behavioral changes

Aside from the physical symptoms, your dog may also display signs of discomfort due to a centipede bite. They might start limping, whimpering, or yelping in pain, and may even develop hives if they’re allergic to the bite.

It’s crucial to closely observe your dog’s behavior and consult a veterinarian if you suspect a centipede bite.

Treating Centipede Bites in Dogs


In order to treat your dog when bitten by a centipede, there are some first aid measures you can take to alleviate the pain and discomfort. Cleaning the wound, applying a cold compress, and seeking veterinary care if necessary, are all essential steps to ensure your dog’s wellbeing.

First aid measures

If your dog has been bitten by a centipede, the first step is to clean the wound thoroughly with cold, clean water. Avoid using detergents or sprays, as they may cause further irritation to the skin.

Next, apply a cold compress or immerse the wound in hot water to help reduce swelling and alleviate pain. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend administering antihistamines to help combat allergic reactions or other medications to manage the symptoms of the centipede bite.

It’s essential to follow your vet’s advice and closely monitor your dog’s condition.

Monitoring and follow-up care

After treating the centipede bite, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on your dog’s condition and contact your veterinarian if needed. If the venom gets into the bloodstream, it can lead to severe complications such as kidney failure, paralysis, and even death.

By monitoring your dog’s symptoms and following up with the appropriate care, you can help ensure their swift recovery and prevent any long-term health issues related to the centipede bite.

Preventing Centipede Encounters


The best way to protect your dog from centipede bites is to prevent them from encountering centipedes in the first place. Home maintenance and yard care play a significant role in keeping centipedes at bay, ensuring a safe environment for your furry friend.

Home maintenance

To keep centipedes out of your home, focus on keeping your living space clean and dry. Seal up any gaps and cracks around your house, and use window screens to prevent centipedes from entering. Additionally, try using natural repellents like peppermint oil or tea tree oil to deter these many-legged house pests.

Regularly clean and air out areas of your home that tend to be damp, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Centipedes love moisture, so reducing dampness in your home will make it less appealing to these critters.

Garden care

In your garden, focus on reducing moisture by clearing away leaf litter and other items where moisture can collect. Also, seal any cracks and crevices outside your home to keep centipedes from finding their way inside. By maintaining a clean and moisture-free garden, you’ll make it less attractive to centipedes and reduce the risk of your dog encountering these potentially dangerous creatures.

Centipedes vs Millipedes: Understanding the Differences


Although centipedes and millipedes may appear similar at first glance, they have distinct differences in appearance, behavior, and toxicity levels.

Understanding these differences is essential to protect your dog from potential harm and ensure their safety around these many-legged creatures.

Appearance and behaviour


Centipedes have a flat body and one leg per body segment, while millipedes are cylindrical and have two legs per body segment. Centipedes’ legs are very noticeable and stick out from the sides of their body, whereas millipedes’ legs point downwards and are less visible.

In terms of behavior, centipedes are generally more aggressive and predatory, while millipedes are slow-moving and primarily feed on decaying plant material. This difference in behavior contributes to the varying toxicity levels between the two.

Toxicity levels

Millipedes are not venomous, but can secrete a foul-smelling liquid as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened. This secretion can cause skin irritation in humans and pets, but is generally not life-threatening.

On the other hand, centipedes have venomous claws and fangs that can deliver painful and potentially dangerous bites to dogs. By understanding the differences between centipedes and millipedes, you can take the necessary precautions to keep your dog safe from these many-legged creatures and protect them from any potential harm.

Safely Removing Centipedes from Your Home


If you find centipedes in your home, it’s crucial to remove them safely to protect your dog and maintain a comfortable living environment.

Using natural repellents or seeking professional pest control services can help you effectively and safely remove centipedes from your home.

Natural repellents

Several natural repellents can help keep centipedes away from your home. Peppermint oil, tea tree oil, rosemary oil, clove oil, vanilla oil, and vinegar are all effective in deterring centipedes from entering your living space.

Incorporating these repellents into your home maintenance routine can help ensure a centipede-free environment for you and your dog.

Professional pest control

In some cases, professional pest control services may be necessary to remove centipedes from your home effectively. Exterminators can use insecticides, sticky traps, and sealing entry points to help eliminate centipedes and prevent future infestations.

By enlisting the help of pest control professionals, you can ensure a safe and comfortable living environment for you and your dog.


In conclusion, understanding centipede toxicity, recognising the signs of centipede bites in dogs, and taking appropriate measures to prevent and treat centipede encounters are all crucial to protecting your dog from potential harm. By keeping your home and yard well-maintained, using natural repellents or professional pest control services, and knowing the differences between centipedes and millipedes, you can create a safe and comfortable environment for your beloved furry friend.

Let’s keep our dogs safe from the many-legged dangers lurking in our homes and yards. With awareness, prevention, and proper care, we can ensure the wellbeing of our four-legged companions and enjoy a centipede-free life together.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms of dog bitten by centipede?

A dog bitten by a centipede may suffer from swelling and redness, hives or raised swellings, a swollen face or muzzle, trouble breathing, and even vomiting.

If they ingest the centipede, gangrene of the mouth or feet is also possible. It is essential to monitor the pet’s health and seek immediate medical help in case of an emergency.

Are house centipedes poisonous?

No, house centipedes are not poisonous to humans. Their bites can be painful, but the venom they inject is not dangerous or fatal.

Centipede bites should be cleaned and monitored to ensure there is no infection. Therefore, while it is not advisable to handle centipedes, they pose no risk of poisoning humans.

Do millipedes make dogs sick?

No, millipedes do not make dogs sick. While the substances or chemicals released by millipedes may irritate a dog’s mouth, they are generally not toxic and won’t cause any serious health issues if ingested.

The unpleasant odor and taste that accompany eating a millipede may cause some discomfort, but it is not poisonous.

What happens if a centipede bites you?

If you’re bitten by a centipede, you may experience severe pain at the site of the bite along with redness, swelling, and other symptoms that typically last no more than 48 hours. Some individuals may experience a more severe allergic reaction, which includes symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and headache. If this is the case, it’s best to seek medical attention.

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