While spiders tend to stay hidden and out of the way which makes bites relatively uncommon, there is still a chance that your dog may find themselves face to face with one one day. Here, the vets at our Snellville pet hospital talk about what to do if your dog has experienced a spider bite and when you should seek veterinary care.
What if your dog has been bitten by a spider?
Do you think that your dog may have a spider bite? Not to worry! Spider bites are usually harmless. Typically they may only cause your pup some minor irritation, itchiness, maybe a little swelling, or redness. There are, however, two species of spiders in North America that are dangerous to both humans and pets: the black widow and the brown recluse. If one gets bit by either of these spiders, veterinary attention is required because they can cause serious side effects.
How are spider bites on dogs treated?
If you are worried that your pup may have been bitten by a spider, call our vets in Snellville, GA. They will either recommend that you visit your local emergency vet clinic or give you treatment options at home. They might even give you the best news, that your pooch doesn't need treatment at all.
If you see your dog bitten by the spider and are able to, please trap the spider in a jar (with air holes!) and bring it with you to the vet. If you're concerned about the spider being dangerous, remain at a safe distance and take a photo. Unfortunately in many cases, the effects of a spider bite don't show up until much later. If this is the case, your vet will use the symptoms that your dog is showing to help diagnose their condition.
Depending on the type of bite, your pet might be treated with an antivenom, IV fluids, cleaning solutions, pain medications, or antibiotics. Ice packs can help reduce swelling and irritation. Some other home remedies for non-venomous bites include cleaning with soap and water and making baking soda and water paste. Try to prevent your dog from licking or scratching the bite excessively.
Venomous vs. Non-Venomous: What's the difference?
You might be wondering "What does a spider bite look like on a dog?" Luckily, the signs of a spider bite are pretty straightforward. The major difference will come from the type of spider that has bitten them.
Non-Venomous Spider Bites
Most of the spiders found in the Snellville area simply can't produce enough venom to harm your dog, or you for that matter. Their bites appear as small red bumps, similar to mosquito bites, and cause hardly any irritation to your dog. They can be treated in a number of natural ways, mainly focused on itch relief. Some dogs may not even notice any irritation at all.
Venomous Spider Bites on Dogs
Black Widow Spider Bites - These bites can start to manifest symptoms quickly after your pup gets bit. The bite itself is painful and causes swelling and redness in the area. Thankfully, 15% of bites from black widow spiders are considered "dry", or non-venomous.
Female black widow spiders are the most dangerous, and they tend to live in warm, dark, and secluded places such as a woodpile or shed. These spiders are small, black, and have a red hourglass marking on their body. If they do inject your dog with venom, you will see symptoms such as cramping, muscle pain, drooling, or vomiting. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your dog to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic.
Brown Recluse Spider Bites - A bite from a brown recluse spider can be difficult to spot. They tend to be painless, but still leave a red mark at the site. However, over time your dog will develop a white blister with a bulls-eye or tissue destruction in the surrounding area.
Brown recluse spiders live in quiet, undisturbed areas like closets and typically need to be agitated to bite. The first sign to look out for in your dog would be limping. Your dog might avoid putting pressure on the bite. In the most severe cases, the symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite on a dog may include bleeding, seizures, or respiratory collapse. If you think a brown recluse has bitten your dog, contact your vet or the nearest emergency vet clinic in Snellville for emergency care.
What can I expect during my dog's recovery from a spider bite?
If your dog has been bitten by a non-venomous spider then you can expect the bite to heal within a few weeks. Even some venomous bites will heal within a month. The most severe bites from brown recluses or black widows can take much longer. As long as your dog is receiving treatment you can count on the bite healing fully within a few months. Our vets here at Snellville Animal Hospital are here for you and your dog throughout the healing process.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.