Spiders usually avoid biting you and your pet, but occasional spider bites can occur in dogs. Some of these bites, as seen by our Diamond Bar vets, may cause severe symptoms requiring immediate medical attention. However, most dog spider bites cause minor irritation and are generally harmless. Find more details on dog spider bites in the sections below.
What Does a Spider Bite Look Like on a Dog
Unless your dog is allergic to spiders, most spider bites are harmless. A spider bite typically triggers minor irritation, itchiness, swelling, or redness in your dog. In North America, only two spider species, the black widow and the brown recluse, pose a danger to humans and pets. If either of these spiders bites your dog, it necessitates veterinary care, as their bites can lead to severe side effects.
There are very few telltale signs to watch for to ascertain whether a spider and the severity of the bite have bitten your dog.
Most spiders in the Diamond Bar area lack sufficient venom to harm your dog or you. They inflict bites that resemble mosquito bites and cause minimal discomfort to your dog. You can naturally treat these bites in various ways, with the primary emphasis on relieving itching. Some dogs may not even detect any discomfort.
Pet owners in Diamond Bar should keep an eye out for the following two types of venomous spiders and their bites:
Black Widow - Symptoms of a black widow spider bite can appear soon after your dog has been bitten. The bite itself is painful, causing swelling and redness in the affected area. Fortunately, only 15% of black widow spider bites are considered "dry" or non-venomous.
Female black widow spiders are the most dangerous and tend to live in warm, dark, and secluded places such as a woodpile or shed. These small, black spiders 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. Take your dog to the nearest emergency vet clinic if you notice these symptoms.
Brown Recluse - A recent bite from a brown recluse spider can be difficult to detect. They are usually painless but leave a red mark at the site. However, your dog will eventually 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 to Treat a Spider Bite on a Dog
Our veterinarians at Diamond Bar frequently encounter cases of spider bites in dogs. If you suspect a spider has bitten your dog, the best course of action is to contact your veterinarian promptly. Your veterinarian can advise whether immediate attention at an emergency vet clinic is necessary or if you can manage treatment at home. They might even determine that your dog doesn't require any treatment at all.
If you happen to spot the spider responsible for the bite, it's advisable to capture it in a jar. This allows your vet to identify the venom and initiate treatment as soon as possible. If you have concerns about the spider's potential danger, maintain a safe distance and take a photograph. Unfortunately, the effects of a spider bite don't always manifest immediately. In such cases, your vet will attempt to identify the type of bite based on the appearance of the affected area and any symptoms your pet is displaying.
Treatment for spider bites in dogs varies depending on the spider involved. It may include administering antivenin for black widow spider bites providing pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and intravenous fluids.
For Brown Recluse spider bites, there are no antivenoms available. If you have a Brown Recluse spider bite, your veterinarian will treat your dog with cool compresses and thorough cleaning. In some cases, antibiotics may be necessary to prevent infection. Most bites typically heal within three weeks or less. While complications and fatalities from Brown Recluse spider bite in dogs are exceedingly rare, severe cases may require surgical treatment, with the potential for permanent scarring.
Antivenom is available for black widow spider bites in dogs, but allergic reactions to this medication are common. Nevertheless, your veterinarian can provide medications to alleviate allergic reaction symptoms in your dog. Additionally, if your dog is bitten by a Black Widow Spider, pain relievers and muscle relaxers may be prescribed as part of the treatment plan.
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.