Many of us are terrified by the thought of a spider lurking in our home, although they typically try to stay hidden well out of our way. That said, they can unexpectedly bite us or our pets. Some of the spider bite symptoms our Rochester vets see in dogs are very serious and require urgent care. Here's what to do if you think that your dog may have been bitten by a spider.

Spider Bites On Dogs

Many spider bites are completely harmless. They may cause minor irritation, itchiness, swelling, or redness in your dog. However, in North America, two spider species are dangerous to both humans and pets: the black widow and the brown recluse. If either of these spiders bites you, seek veterinary care immediately because they can cause serious side effects.

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 Rochester area simply do not have enough venom to harm your dog or you. Their bites resemble mosquito bites in appearance and cause little discomfort to your dog. They can be treated naturally in a variety of ways, with the main focus being on itch relief. Some dogs may not even notice any discomfort.

Venomous Bites

You are no doubt wondering what the symptoms of a venomous spider bite on a dog are. The following are the two types of venomous spiders and their bites that Rochester pet owners should keep an eye out for:

Black Widow - These bites can cause symptoms to appear quickly after your dog is 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 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 vet clinic.

Brown Recluse - A brown recluse spider bite can be difficult to detect. They are usually painless, but they leave a red mark at the site. Your dog, on the other hand, will develop a white blister with a bulls-eye or tissue destruction in the surrounding area over time.

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

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 see the spider that bit your dog, capture it in a jar so your vet can identify the venom and begin treatment as soon as possible. If you are concerned that the spider is dangerous, keep a safe distance and photograph it. Unfortunately, the effects of a spider bite do not always manifest themselves immediately; in this case, your vet will try to determine the type of bite based on the appearance of the area and any symptoms your pet is exhibiting.

The treatment for spider bites in dogs will vary depending on the spider in question but may include an antivenin for black widow spider bites, pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and IV fluids.

There are no antivenoms available for Brown Recluse spiders. If your dog is bitten by a Brown Recluse spider, your veterinarian will treat him with cool compresses and thorough cleaning. Antibiotics may be required in some cases to aid in the fight against infection. Most bites heal in three weeks or less. When dealing with a Brown Recluse spider bite in dogs, complications, and death is extremely rare. In severe cases, wounds may necessitate surgical treatment, and permanent scarring is a possibility.

Antivenom is available for Black Widow spider bites in dogs although allergic reactions to this drug are common. That said, your vet will be able to supply medications to minimize the symptoms of an allergic reaction in your dog. Other medications that may be prescribed for your pooch if they are bitten by a BlackWidow Spider include pain meds and muscle relaxers.

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 believe that your dog may have been bitten by a spider contact our experienced Rochester vets right away or visit your nearest emergency vet for urgent care.