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Protect your pets from bark scorpions and roof rats

If the Valley is known for two household pets, it’s bark scorpions and roof rats. Some neighborhoods are overrun with these pests. Each presents their own challenges.

The Arizona Bark Scorpion, of course, is well-known for its painfully venomous sting. Attracted to citrus fruit trees, roof rats can move into your home quickly.

In this article, we’ll review the dangers that both bark scorpions and roof rats pose to cats and dogs, and what you should do if you find either in your home.

What to do if your pet is stung by a scorpion

If you’ve ever been stung by an Arizona Bark Scorpion, you know just how painful the experience can be for a fully grown human. For your pet, the symptoms are often multiplied due to their lower body weight.

While scorpion stings are rarely fatal for dogs and cats, you should take your pet to the emergency vet as soon as possible if you know or suspect they have been stung by a scorpion.

An Arizona Bark Scorpion scuttles across the floor of this Valley garage, its stinger raised defensively.

Dogs and scorpions

While some homeowners train their dogs to avoid rattlesnakes, there’s no equivalent training for bark scorpions. After all, they don’t have that distinctive rattle to warn off dogs (and humans, for that matter!).

Your dog might be curious about the scorpion. As with most things, they tend to lead with their nose, leaving them vulnerable to a stinging strike from the threatened bark scorpion.

When stung, you’ll likely hear your dog making painful yelps. If they are stung on a paw, they may attempt to clean the wound. If stung on their nose, they may try covering it.

As you’re getting your dog into the car to head to the vet’s office, watch for symptoms. This could include excessive drooling, an inability to stand, labored breathing, dilated eyes, or other symptoms you’d associate with an allergic reaction.

Cats and scorpions

Here’s an urban legend you might have heard at one point or another: cats are immune to scorpion venom. This just isn’t true—it’s a scorpion myth.

What is true is that cats are better, relatively speaking, at avoiding scorpion stings than dogs are. Their agility allows them to dodge tail strikes, and their good eyesight—especially at night when scorpions are active—helps them either avoid or hunt scorpions who are themselves on the hunt.

Most cats see bark scorpions as prey. Your cat may cautiously approach the scorpion and bat at it, trying to knock it over. If they successfully kill the scorpion, they may even try to eat it. It’s not unheard of for feral cats in the Valley to catch and consume scorpions.

While your cat might see the scorpion as prey, its sting is still very dangerous. If you see your cat about to engage a scorpion, grab it and put it away in another room while you deal with the scorpion. Never allow your cat to play with or eat the scorpion.

Unlike dogs, cats tend to not openly display weakness or pain. If stung, your cat will likely try to hide somewhere it feels safe. It may begin having symptoms, such as weakness, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.

You’ll need to carefully grab your cat, load it into the carrier, and take it to the vet for treatment as soon as possible.

What should I do if my pet is stung?

Take them to an emergency vet right away. Just one sting from a bark scorpion could lead to serious symptoms in your pet and—left untreated—potentially even death. The degree of danger depends on several factors, including:

— The size of your pet: Smaller cats and dogs are more vulnerable to scorpion venom.
— The nature of the sting: Some adult scorpions strike first with a “warning” sting that may be less severe than a full sting.

Most importantly, don’t panic. A scorpion sting can be a terrifying experience for any pet owner. But, you should know that dog and cat deaths from scorpion stings are exceedingly rare here in Arizona, so long as you bring your pet to a veterinarian for treatment.

Your pets and rodents

In some Valley neighborhoods, roof rats are an endemic problem. It’s possible for your pets to come into contact with these rats.

Here’s what you need to know:

If your pets are behaving strangely or barking at the roof suddenly, you might need to call us for a rodent inspection.

Dogs and rats

If you have roof rats in your attic or around your home, your dog will probably be the first one to know. Their sense of smell and sharp ears will pick up on these home intruders long before you do.

If your dog barks or growls randomly at the ceiling, it could be more than just a coincidence. It’s one of the signs of a roof rat infestation, and it’s probably time to call us for a free pest inspection.

If your dog comes face-to-face with a rat, they’ll probably try to catch it. Some dog breeds (most terriers, for instance) were actually bred to be rat-catchers, so there might be some strong instinctual push for them to give chase.

Grab your dog by the collar and keep them at a distance. As we’ll explain in the section below, roof rats carry all kinds of terrible diseases that can be passed onto your dog.

Cats and rats

Cats are instinctually hardwired to hunt rats. In fact, most researchers believe that humans and cats first started cohabitating when early agriculturalists started storing grain. The stored food attracted rats, which, in turn, attracted cats. In this way, cats and humans formed a symbiotic relationship, with the former helping to protect grain stores from rodents.

However, that doesn’t mean you should let your cat hunt a rat or a mouse. There’s a reason why mousers—cats bred, trained, and allowed to hunt mice and other rodents, typically on farms—live relatively short lives. Rats carry all kinds of diseases that can jump over to the cat once the latter has successfully completed the hunt.

You might feel like letting your cat hunt a rat or a mouse is “natural.” However, you’re putting your cat’s health at serious risk.

Some homeowners think that getting a cat will solve their rat problems. Here’s the thing: even setting aside everything we mentioned above, cats cannot keep a rat population in check. For one, roof rats build their nests where your cat cannot go, such as in your attic or within interior walls. What’s more, rats (and mice) repopulate too fast for even skilled mousers to keep up with—nevermind your housecat.

Here’s the bottom-line: if you have roof rats, call our team, instead. Let’s deal with your infestation in a comprehensive way that protects your pets from them.

Call our team for a free pest inspection

Let’s protect your home and everything inside of it—including your pets. If you’re seeing scorpions, roof rats, or other pests, give us a call. We’ll send one of our technicians out to your home for a free pest inspection.

Should we find that you have an infestation, we’ll then meet with you to go over what it’ll take to remove it and prevent pests from later returning.

To schedule your free pest inspection, click the button below and fill out the form.