Spider Bite On Your Dog’s Paw—What Now?

Spider Bite on dog's paw dogfoodcare.com

If the thought of a spider biting your precious pooch is unbearable, you might want to read on to see which spiders are harmless and how to recognize the bites of dangerous spiders. Pet owners might be able to limit the presence of such creepy crawlies in their homes. However, the typical curious nature of your furry friend could lead him right into the spider’s web in the backyard. Spider bites on your dog’s paw could even occur on your daily walk. If that happens, you would want to know what to do.

If you knew more about the different types of spiders, you’d know when to worry and when to rush your dog to the DVM. The likelihood of slight redness and swelling being life-threatening is minimal. Many spider bites are harmless. They might cause your pup some minor irritation and itchiness, but they are mostly no worse than a mosquito, flea, or insect bite.

Spider bites on dogs are never easy to see on dogs, but just like people, dogs can suffer from allergic reactions. The most common causes of these reactions are insect bites. Bee, wasp, mosquito, and spider bites can cause hives and discomfort to your dog. If there is no venom involved, your veterinarian may suggest giving your pup an antihistamine to quell the symptoms.

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How Would You Recognize a Spider Bite on Your Dog’s Paw?

You’re not likely to know when a spider bites your canine companion unless your pup lets out a sudden yelp for what seems to be no reason. Even if you immediately examine your dog’s skin or paw for a bite mark, the only discovery might be a little red spot. However, monitor that spot for the development of tenderness or swelling around the site of the bite.

Your doggy dude may show discomfort and bite, lick, or scratch the affected area, but no other symptoms are usually visible to the naked eye. Black lesions may develop around the bite if it is a venomous spider bite. Other red flags might be changes in your dog’s behavior and activities.

Interestingly, unless a venomous spider bit your dog, it’s almost impossible to determine what type of spider or bug bit your pooch. Fortunately, insect bites rarely ever result in life-threatening situations.

Was It Venomous or Nonvenomous?

There are a few symptoms of spider bites to look out for when differentiating types of bites.

Most spiders produce minimal amounts of spider venom, hardly ever enough to cause an irritating, small red bump on your pup’s skin. You can use natural remedies to treat itchiness after a nonvenomous bite. Benadryl is safe for dogs to ingest. It can help ease reactions to a bug bite or sting that may include swelling or difficulty breathing. However, check with your vet before giving your precious pooch Benadryl.

Which Venomous Spider Bit My Dog’s Paw?

If the bite shows signs of venom injection, there may be telltale signs of the type of the species of spider that caused it. Very few venomous spiders are likely to bite your dog, but the signs below can help you identify the eight-legged scoundrel.

Black Widow Spider Dogfoodcare.com

Black Widow Spider – Image Shutterstock

  • The Black Widow Spider

Female black widows are significantly more dangerous than males. Black widow spiders live in secluded, dark, and warm places like sheds or piles of wood. They are small and black with an orange-reddish hourglass marking on their body. If they manage to inject their venom, it may cause muscle pain, cramping, drooling, or vomiting.

A Black Widow Spider bite develops quickly after she slams her fangs into your precious pooch. These bites are painful, red, and swollen, and your pup will display discomfort. Fortunately, 15% of these bites are “dry” and do not allow envenomation or venom injection. Therefore, those bites are benign.

Brown Widow Spider dogfoodcare.com

Brown Widow Spider – Image Shutterstock

  • The Brown Widow Spider

They are brown with long legs and have an hourglass marking. Although they are similar to the Black Widow Spider, the Brown Widow Spider is significantly less aggressive, and they only bite when agitated. Symptoms of a brown widow spider bite include bleeding, bruising, lethargy, and cramping.

Brown Recluse Spider

Brown Recluse Spider – Image Shutterstock

  • The Brown Recluse Spider

Brown Recluse Spiders live in quiet and undisturbed areas like closets. These spiders typically only bite in self-defense when agitated. Recluse bites are difficult to spot because they typically cause no initial pain for your pup. The area may be red and develops a white blister with a bulls-eye or surrounding tissue destruction caused by the neurotoxin. The first sign of a bad brown recluse spider bite would be limping. Your dog might avoid putting pressure on the paw with the spider bite. In the most severe cases, your dog may experience bleeding, seizures or even respiratory collapse. If you think a brown recluse has bitten your dog, head to the vet for medical attention as soon as possible.

Tarantula Spider dogfoodcare.com

Tarantula Spider – Image Shutterstock

  • The Tarantula Spider

Tarantulas are huge, hairy spiders, and some dogs try to eat them. Tarantula bites cause pain for your dog, and when they eat the spider, they experience oral pain. When swallowed, the spider’s hair can cause drooling or vomiting.

What Happens When Your Dog Eats a Spider?

Does your doggy dude eat anything that fits into its mouth, even a spider? No need to get upset about it because the worst that can happen is an upset stomach and vomiting or excessive drooling. Even a venomous spider will cause no more than minimal upset.

How is that possible, you may ask. Venoms and poisons are toxins. Poisons are dangerous when they are swallowed and carried to the stomach. In contrast, venom is only dangerous when it lands in the bloodstream. If a venomous spider lands in your doggy dude’s stomach, the stomach acids break the venom down like other proteins.

Can Spider Bites Cause Death?

Spiders can bite any dog; however, the consequences can vary. Older pooches may have worse reactions due to compromised immune systems. Spider bites are rarely deadly, so dog owners shouldn’t get too worried unless their pup displays severe symptoms.

Fortunately, you can take precautions to eliminate insects and dangerous spiders in areas under your control. Clean out your home or backyard areas where spiders and other insects can hide. It may be wise not to leave your furry friend unsupervised in areas like the basement or shed.

The best step if you suspect a spider bit your dog is to monitor any visible bite locations on its paw or another body part for signs of it worsening. Furthermore, you know your pup the best, and as soon as you see your dog displays pain, trouble walking, or irregularities in its activity, don’t delay a trip to the vet. The pooch might need an antivenin. It is always good to be aware of your canine companion’s typical mood and activities to make it easier to spot inconsistencies.

Regardless of the spider species, most venomous spider bites cause whining, “drunk walking,” changes to heart rate, blood pressure, or obvious distress for your dog.

When should you go to the vet?

If your dog displays a weak pulse, lethargy, “drunk walking,” cramps, vomiting, or tremors, it is critical you head to the vet. Likewise, if the area surrounding the bite appears to be black, has a foul odor, or oozes with discharge, you should take your pup to the vet because sometimes spider bites can become infected with bacteria.

Inform the vet of a spider bite or suspicion of a bite. Your DVM will identify the spider bite and provide the dog with an antivenom if necessary. Antivenins are injected and contain antibodies to fight venomous infection.

Then, the vet might prescribe other things like antibiotics (if there appears to be a secondary infection), pain medications, or muscle relaxers. With recluse bites, there’s no antivenom (don’t worry, these bites are rarely fatal). The vet will instead remove any dead tissue and soothe the lesion caused by the bite.

Home remedies to treat spider bite symptoms

  • Basic treatment: If your pup shows no signs of discomfort or illness, the spider bite is likely benign (it will be in most cases). The first step is cleaning the area using plain soap, water, and a cold compress or ice pack. Elevate the limb If you notice any swelling around the area.
  • Potato poultice: Slice up a potato and put the pieces into a cloth. Apply it to the bite to help reduce inflammation.
  • Baking soda: You can make a simple paste by mixing baking soda and water into a paste. Apply to the spider bite to speed up healing.
  • Turmeric powder and olive oil: Create this mixture and rub it on the spider bite to help with inflammation. Turmeric is a super treatment (it can also be ingested) with many other benefits for dogs.
  • Salt: This step is great for venomous bites. Wash the affected area with warm water and sprinkle a bit of table salt with lukewarm water onto a clean cloth. Rub it on the bite to effectively soak up some venom.
  • Skin balms. See two effective balms, Skin Soother and Musher’s Secret Paw Protection Natural Dog Wax, to calm the irritation. Aloe Vera Gel is also a safe balm for dogs.

Call your vet if the affected area does not seem to improve after several days.

Have you had to deal with a spider bite on your dog’s paw? 

Hopefully, we’ve answered your questions about what to do.

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