My Dog Got Bit by a Spider, What Should I Do? - Symptoms and Treatment
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When taking our dogs on walks, they are exposed to different animals, places, people and insects. As dogs are naturally curious animals, it's not surprising that they may get a little too close to a spider.
In this AnimalWised article we're going to focus on spider bites in dogs. Therefore, if your dog got bit by a spider, keep reading to learn what you should do!
Spider bite in dogs
Spider bites in dogs isn't uncommon. Once caregivers realise that their dog has been bitten by a spider, the next thing they wonder is how dangerous a spider bite is.
Are spider bites in dogs dangerous?
Although there are non-venomous spiders, out of the 30,000+ species of spiders around the world most of them are venomous. However, most spiders cannot physically penetrate a dog's skin to insert their poison. The ones that can and that are responsible for the majority of spider bites in dogs are widow spiders and recluse spiders.
Widow spiders are found in tropical and temperate areas. The most common species of widow spiders in the United States is the black widow spider. The most dangerous is the female black widow spider as they are larger and more venomous than males. These spiders are dark grey or black with a red or orange hourglass marking on their abdomen.
Recluse spiders, on the other hand, are common worldwide. The most common species of recluse spiders in the United States are brown recluse spiders. Just like the widow spiders, the female brown recluse spider is larger in size and more venomous than the males. They are yellow-brown in color, with a violin-shaped marking on their back. These spiders are reclusive and not aggressive, but can bite when they feel cornered or trapped.
Learn more in our article about the most venomous spiders in the UK.
What happens when a dog gets bit by a spider?
When a dog gets bit by a spider they will begin developing symptoms within a couple of hours. If they are bitten by a black widow spider they will experience moderate pain and mild redness or swelling. In the following hours, more severe signs may occur.
Small amount of stinging or redness may be noted, and a blister may develop at the site within 2-8 hours.
local inflammation and tissue necrosis (death of certain tissue).
Symptoms of a spider bite in dogs
How do you know that your dog has been bit by a spider and not by another insect? In general, spider bites in dogs will produce only a reddish mark or a slight swelling that is more or less visible. Some dogs may be bothered by it, so they will scratch to try to relieve themselves.
In others, the bites could be complicated by an infection, with which we will detect redness, pus, pain or heat in the area. In the less common cases in which we appreciate other symptoms, these will depend on the causative spider.
To identify a spider bite on a dog, we can observe certain clinical symptoms. These are the signs that appear when the bite is due to an arachnid toxic to dogs:
- Very severe pain at the site of the bite
- Very marked nervousness
- Pains in the joints and muscles
- Muscle and abdominal stiffness
- Trouble breathing
- Vomiting and diarrhea
In the most serious cases, the dog may go into shock and die. The fatal result is usually due to the bite of the black widow. For its part, the brown recluse causes necrosis in the area of the bite.
The main problem is that these symptoms are compatible with various pathologies, so unless we have seen the spider, the diagnosis may take time. This is why it's important to bring your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Lastly, a small percentage of dogs suffer an allergic reaction to stings that in the most severe cases causes an anaphylactic shock. This is a veterinary emergency that requires immediate assistance.
Your dog was bit by a spider, what should you do?
Now that you know how to identify a spider bite in dogs, what should you do if you know your dog has been bitten by a spider? Take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
By taking them to the veterinarian you will be able to rule out the most serious and even fatal health issues. Your veterinarian will be able to properly diagnose them and find the best treatment for your dog's condition.
Your veterinarian will need to act fast and choose the correct medicine for your dog. The recovery usually takes a couple of weeks. In most cases, dogs will need medicine assigned by the veterinarian and additional supportive care. Severe cases that need surgery are rare.
Home remedies for spider bites in dogs
Once you have taken your dog to the veterinarian, you can also ask them about some home remedies that can help with the symptoms. These usually imply placing an ice cube wrapped in a cloth on the wound, cleaning the wound so it doesn't become infected and immobilization using bandages.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to My Dog Got Bit by a Spider, What Should I Do? - Symptoms and Treatment, we recommend you visit our First aid category.
- Carlson and Giffin. (2002). Practical manual of canine veterinary medicine. Madrid. Editorial el Drac.
- Geoffrey K. Isbister, Jamie E. Seymour, Michael R. Gray, Robert J. Raven. Bites by spiders of the family Theraphosidae in humans and canines. Toxicon. Volume 41, Issue 4. 2003. Pages 519-524. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0041-0101(02)00395-1.
- O'Brien, C., McMillan, E., Harris, O., O'Brien, D., Lavender, C., Globan, M., Legione, A. and Fyfe, J. (2011), Localised Mycobacterium ulcerans infection in four dogs. Australian Veterinary Journal, 89: 506-510. doi:10.1111/j.1751-0813.2011.00850.x