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How To Recognize Spider Bites On Dogs

No one likes the thought of a spider being in their home. Most of the time, spiders stay out of sight and don't cause any issues. However, they do occasionally bite us and our pets. Below, our Clearlake vets tell you about spider bites in dogs, and when to seek medical attention.

Spider Bites On Dogs

Many spider bites are harmless. At most, they might cause your pup some minor irritation, itchiness, maybe a little swelling, or redness. However, there are two species of spiders in North America that are dangerous to both humans and pets: the black widow and the brown recluse. If your dog gets bit by either of these spiders, veterinary attention is required because there can be serious side effects.

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 happen to see the spider that bit your dog, capture it in a jar so your vet can identify the venom and start treatment sooner. If you're concerned about the spider being dangerous, remain at a safe distance and take a photo. Unfortunately, often the effects of a spider bite don't show up until much later. In that case, your vet will try to determine the type of bite by the look of the area and any symptoms your pet is exhibiting. 

Upon arrival at the vet, the wound will be cleaned with pet-safe antiseptics. Depending on the type of bite, your pet might be treated with an antivenom, IV fluids, pain medications, or antibiotics. 

Some home remedies for non-venomous bites include cleaning with soap and water and making a baking soda and water paste. Ice packs can help reduce swelling and irritation. 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 telltale signs to look out for to determine if your dog has been bit by a spider, and how serious it may be.

Non-Venomous Bites

Most of the spiders found in the Clearlake area simply can't produce enough venom to seriously harm your dog, or you for that matter. Their bites appear as small red bumps, similar to mosquito bites, and cause hardly any irritation. They can be treated in a number of ways at home, mainly focused on itch relief. Some dogs may not even notice any irritation at all.

Venomous Bites

The following are the two types of venomous spiders and their bites that Clearlake 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. 

Male black widow spiders hardly ever bite, but females will bite to defend themselves. They tend to live in warm, dark, and secluded places such as woodpiles and sheds. 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 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. 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 bites can heal in as few as two or three weeks. Even some venomous bites will heal within a month. The most severe bites from brown recluses or black widows can take much longer. With ongoing treatment, your pet can recover fully from these bites in 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.

If you noticed a spider bite on your dog and they are displaying concerning symptoms contact our Clearlake veterinary clinic immediately.

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