Moist summer weather triggers male tarantulas to emerge from dens and begin looking for mates. Sometimes their lovelorn journeys bring them into our backyards and even our homes. Prior to biting, a tarantula will make a threatening gesture and hurl sharp hairs at a dog's nose and eyes -- which can cause serious inflammation -- but the mild venom from his fangs rarely causes a problem.
Tarantula venom is designed to incapacitate mice and birds and is harmless to dogs and cats according to the American Tarantula Society. The bite is similar to a wasp sting, with moderate pain and possible swelling. If your dog has been bitten, watch for signs of allergic reaction such as excessive drooling, vomiting, eye rolling or other unusual behavior. Tiny toy- and teacup-size dogs are at greatest risk. Contact your veterinarian with concerns.
Tarantulas eat other creepy-crawlies that can have a more toxic effect on your dog, such as scorpions and sometimes even snakes. Tarantulas are commonly seen during breeding season, but they keep to their subterranean dens for the most part. If you have a tarantula in your yard, sweep him gently into a jar with a broom or paintbrush and remove him as far away from your home as you feel comfortable. He will continue on his journey, not returning unless you have a female on site.
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