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Spider Bites on Dogs

Spider Bites on Dogs

No one loves the thought of spiders being in our home and biting us or our pets. Most of the time, these creatures stay out of sight and don't bother us, but there are some cases where they will bite us or our canine companions. Here, our Groton vets explain everything you need to know about spider bites in dogs and when you should seek medical attention.

Spider Bites On Dogs

Many spider bites are totally harmless. They may cause your dog to experience some minor itchiness, a little swelling and redness. However, there are two species of spiders in North America that can be both dangerous to pets and people: the black widow and the brown recluse. If you or your dog gets bit by either of these spiders, immediate medical attention will be required to help stave off the serious effects of their venom.

How To Treat A Spider Bite On A Dog

If you think that your dog has been bit by a spider, call your vet. 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 are able to see the spider that bit your dog, capture it in a jar so that your veterinarian can identify the venom affecting your pup and can begin treatment sooner. If you are concerns about the spider bite being very dangerous, remain at a safe distinct and take a photograph. 

Unfortunately, the effects of spider bites may not show up until well after they bite your dog. In that case, your vet will try to determine the kind of bite by the look of the area and the symptoms your companion is showing. 

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 a baking soda and water paste. Try to prevent your dog from licking or scratching the bite excessively.

The Difference Between Venomous And Non-Venomous Bites

You might be wondering "what does a spider bite look like on a dog?" There are a few tell-tail signs to look out for to determine if your dog has been bit by a spider and how serious it is.

Non-Venomous Bites

Most spiders found in the Groton area simply can't create enough venom to harm your dog or you. Their bites appear as small, red bumps like mosquito bites and may cause very minor irritation in your dog. They can be treated in very small ways - mostly to relieve itchiness - before clearing up on their own. Some dogs may not even notice their bite.

Venomous Bites

The following are the two types of venomous spiders and their bites that Groton pet owners should keep an eye out for:

Black Widow - 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 of the species and live in dark, warm and secluded places like a shed or woodpile. These spiders are small, black and have a distinctive red hourglass-shaped marking on their body. If a black widow bites your dog and injects venom, you will notice symptoms like vomiting, drooling, cramping and muscle pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, bring your dog to the nearest emergency vet clinic.

Brown Recluse - 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 for emergency care.

How Quickly Will My Dog Recover?

Non-venomous spider bites will heal in as short a time as two to three weeks. Even some venomous bites will heal in a month or so. 

The most serious bites from black widows or brown recluses can take much longer to heal, however. With rapid response and ongoing treatment, your dog will be able to make a full recovery from these bites within a few months.

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.

Have you noticed a small spider bite on your dog and that they are displaying worrying behaviors or symptoms? Contact Companion Animal Hospital today for urgent care or contact an emergency veterinarian in the Groton area.

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