Do Spiders Pose a Threat to Dogs?

by Naomi Millburn
    Spiders sometimes reside in tall grasses.

    Spiders sometimes reside in tall grasses.

    Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    You might find the sight of spiders merely creepy and unsettling, but it's important to know that their potential problems go far beyond that. Not only are spiders occasionally dangerous to people, they also sometimes pose a threat to dogs. Some spider bites can even lead to life-threatening results in pets.

    Prominent Spider Threats

    The biggest spider threats to canines are brown recluse spiders and black widow spiders, according to Margaret H. Bonham, author of "Dogs Make Great Pets." If a dog experiences a bite from one of these spiders and it goes ignored, he could even die from it. Loss of legs also can occur as a result of spider bites. This is why it's absolutely vital to get immediate veterinary assistance for any spider bites, period. Black widow spider bites are especially lethal to dogs, says John M. Simon, author of "Anti-Aging for Dogs."

    Keeping Dogs Safe from Spiders

    Not only do spider bites often hurt dogs intensely, they frequently lead to major swelling and tissue destruction, too -- no thanks. If you ever spot a spider in your residence, eliminate it as soon as possible so it can't harm your pet. If you want to try to keep spiders out of your yard, mow your grass regularly. Also make a point to routinely tidy up places spiders can live, such as areas with particularly dense and thick plants. Bites from spiders occur especially frequently in temperate conditions, from April to October.

    Identifying Dangerous Spiders

    Knowing how to identify spiders visually can be helpful for keeping dogs away from them. Black widow spiders, true to their name, are indeed black. They have conspicuous red markings reminiscent of hourglasses on the lower portions of their bodies. Brown recluse spiders are pale brown, often with deep brown markings on their backs. These markings are reminiscent of violins. Not all of them have these telltale "violins" on their bodies, however.

    Signs of Spider Bites

    If a dog has been bitten by a black widow spider, he might exhibit symptoms such as nervousness, antsy behavior, unusual and fast breathing, soreness of the belly, tense, aching muscles and shock. If a dog has been bitten by a brown recluse spider, he might get a crimson, itching patch on his skin with some bleeding. Dogs often whimper due to spider bites, too. Dogs bitten by spiders require urgent veterinary care, even if they don't show any instant indications of it. Note that bites from brown recluse spiders frequently don't hurt at first.

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    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.