Ways to Deal With a Spider Bite on a Dog

5 Ways to Deal With a Spider Bite on a Dog

Spiders are usually known to invade our nightmares, many quiver at the mere thought of encountering a spider in the bedroom, bathroom, or pretty much at any spot in the house. But sadly, spiders are a real part of our world, and we encounter them every day. If it so happens that a human is bitten by a spider, the person will know which cause of action to take. He or she can easily tell a physician all the symptoms that have manifested, and the type of spider that is responsible.

However, our canine companions lack this human ability, and thus, they cannot utter a word in explanation of their condition. Because of this, the responsibility shifts to you as the pet parent to know when your furbaby has been bitten by a spider, know the type of spider responsible as well as observe all the symptoms the dog has manifested for onward relay to the vet, in case of severe bites. If your pup has been bitten and you are not sure which way to turn, this article offers five ways to tackle a spider bite on your canine friend, they include.

Basic treatment

A dog spider bite treatment is pretty straight forward and most can be treated at home without the need of going for extensive treatments. A simple DIY step-by-step method will suffice. The initial step to take is to clean out the bitten area by washing it out with water, soap, or the shampoo you use for the pup. Next, you apply a cold compress on the affected spot; the process should be repeated for the following two days, or as the need arises. Pain medications are absolutely unnecessary in such a situation, except in those where the dog starts to manifest some serious symptoms.

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Once the vet is involved in the treatment process, he or she will be the one to decide the best course of action depending on the type of spider involved. For instance, if the culprit is a brown recluse spider, other methods of treatment may be needed, since that particular species of spider is listed as one of the most dangerous. Moreover, your dog’s reaction to the bite and its severity will also come to play. The following are examples of how the situation may be handled by the vet;

  • Cleansing: This is the first cause of action; the vet will cleanse the bitten area thoroughly.
  • Pain medication: the vet may decide to give some pain medication alongside ice. The additional impact upon the system can be prevented with the use of corticosteroids. To relieve the pain, the vet may prescribe morphine or muscle relaxants.
  • Antibiotics: This comes in handy for the prevention of any serious infection. Antibiotics are usually given in a situation where the culprit is a brown recluse spider. A good antibiotic for this kind of bite is dapsone, which functions to inhibit the activities of leukocytes. Bites from black widows can be treated with anti-venom. In situations where the affected pup has never received a tetanus shot, a tetanus antitoxin will be needed.
  • Oxygen therapy: This will be needed in situations where the spider bite is very severe. It functions to help the pup with breathing.
  • Fluids: In addition to all the aforementioned treatments, the vet may decide to administer some fluid to your pet dog via an IV. The function of the fluid is to keep the pup constantly hydrated. Alongside the oxygen therapy, the fluid will aid in keeping the dog’s blood pressure down.
  • Antivenin: The species of spider that is responsible for the bite will determine whether there is any antivenin for the treatment. For instance, an antivenin exists for bites from a black widow spider.

Potato Poultice

For your home treatment of spider bite on a dog, an ordinary potato can come in handy as it has proved effective in reducing the resultant reaction and inflammation from spider bites. The potato poultice is easy to make – just peel a potato and grate it, after which you will place the shreds on a thin cloth. Get them secured within the piece of cloth with the aid of a rubber band, then proceed to apply the poultice to the bitten area, continue until the poultice dries off. Keep on repeating the process as the need arises, but you should ensure to clean up the affected spot before applying the poultice subsequently.

Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda paste is one cost-effective solution that has proved to be effective for treating a dog bitten by spider. The solution is equally easy to concoct – Just get some baking powder and water, mix both together to form a paste and apply it to the affected area. The process should be repeated several times per day and will improve the healing of the spider bite in no time at all. If you want to make a thick paste, one part of water and three parts of baking powder will suffice.

Aloe Vera

Over the years, aloe vera has gained popularity because of its remarkable skin reviving properties, and this makes it an excellent option for the treatment of spider bites on canines. The gel is also effective in reducing both itchiness and inflammation. However, you should desist from applying the gel directly from an aloe vera plant – the reason is that your dog can easily ingest it, and may get sick as a result. Look for any aloe vera product labeled dog-friendly. This may be realized in the form of ointments containing aloe or aloe mist. You can apply any dog-friendly aloe vera product several times daily until you see some improvements on the bitten area, or until it is completely healed.

Sick dog in vet clinic

Vet Visitation

In a situation where a spider bite has refused to heal, and your pup is manifesting some advanced symptoms, your next course of action should be left to the discretion of the vet, as some species of spiders are known to inject their victims with venoms that would call for the attention of a professional. Moreover, it would help to capture the particular spider that bites your dog, or better still; you can snap a picture of the culprit and save so that it can be properly identified when the need arises. The reason for this is that different species of spiders have their specific venoms, and as their bites differ, treatment may well differ. The way a vet would treat a brown recluse bite on dog may differ from the treatment for a black widow bite on a dog. And we are yet to mention other forms of spider bites like a wolf spider bite on dog and many more.

Signs to Show That Your Pup Has Been Bitten by a Spider

 ‘’What does a spider bite look like on a dog?’’. This is a question that every adopter should be able to answer. This is because the spider may not linger for you to capture it after the bit, it may well get away, and you will only be left with the bitten spot to determine what happened. What’s more, how dangerous these bites can be will vary, especially when you consider human anatomy vs. canine anatomy. However, it is common knowledge that spider venom is significantly more effective on smaller animals such as dogs and cats. The symptoms of spider bites on dogs will be determined by the species or type of spider responsible. If the culprit is a black widow spider, then the symptoms may start manifesting within eight hours. This is not to say that the vet’s attention may be required. There are many variations of spider bites; some may even be realized as dry bites – this means a bite that does not contain any venom.

Additionally, the symptoms may entail minor pain coupled with swelling and redness in the affected area. In situations where the spider injected the dog with a harmful amount of its venom, your pup may experience muscle pain, cramping, agitation, diarrhea, vomiting, as well as tremors.

If the bite is from a brown recluse spider, signs of pain may not manifest immediately; you may just notice some redness at the initial stage with blisters following in the next two to eight hours. The resultant blister may be accompanied by a surrounding red circle, or a bulls-eye lesion – this means that a damaging amount of venom was injected into the dog.

While most spider bites will manifest in signs of pain, irritation, swelling, and redness, others may display more serious symptoms like weakness, fever, puss, joint, or muscle pain. Other symptoms include increased heart rate, weak pulse, trouble standing or walking, lethargy, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Veterinary examing dog


As every species of spider is different, so do their bites differ, calling for different lines of action. Whatever action you may need to take will greatly depend on the severity of each bite. The seriousness will dictate whether the situation can be managed at home or a vet’s attention is required.


  1. How to Give First Aid to Your Dog, HowStuffWorks
  2. Catherine Barnette, DVM, Spider Bites, VCA Hospitals

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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.