Black widow spiders are fairly common in the US, and it is quite possible for your dog to step on one. But can a black widow bite kill a dog? How poisonous is their sting? Let’s find out.
The US sees a lot of black widow spiders every year. They thrive here because the warm and mild winters in the United States are welcome to these species. Being shy, the widow spiders make a safe home in your house.
But often, these types of species can be extremely harmful to your pets. Having said so, over 2500 spider bite cases report how extreme this problem is. But the question arises, does a spider bite kill a dog? Yes. A spider bite can still kill a dog, but these circumstances are rare and can be avoided with proper medical attention.
Find out why a spider bite is dangerous and how it infuses severe reactions in the dog with this article.
Why Are Black Widow Spiders Dangerous For Dogs?
It is usually assumed that black widow spiders deliberately kill humans and pets. Although it has been observed that humans, when bitten by the black widow spiders, have a strong immunity system and can cope. Black widow spider bites are typically not fatal to them.
Only dogs, particularly younger and older dogs, have a higher risk of being severely affected by the bite of black widow spiders. This is so because dogs like to sniff around dark and unvisited places. Dogs are eager to learn about new environments, and they can easily stick their nose or paw over the black widow spider nest.
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How Poisonous Are Black Widow Spiders?
Black widow spiders are venomous and can be more dangerous to dogs because of their bite, unlike animals like rodents and groundhogs.
Black widow spiders have been known to be found in abundance. In addition to brown recluse spiders and their other species, the female black widow spiders are more aggressive.
The female black widow spiders can be seen as these appear long and shiny black. A red mark on their abdomen looks identical to the hourglass shape.
Recent studies on the black widow spiders suggest a difference between poisonous and venomous ones. Among the two different animal types, poisonous species only leave their effect when eaten. On the other hand, venomous animals have deadly venom bites.
With over 700 venomous species found in Northern America, the black widow spiders are a common venomous species. This means that these insects embody a venom gland or a duct and an opening for injecting venom during the bite.
In a nutshell, black widow spiders are not poisonous but venomous and are more likely to kill a dog.
How Do Black Widow Spiders Kill A Dog?
When widow spiders suspect a threat, they raise their fangs or use saliva that can potentially kill even a healthier dog. The kind of venom produced is neurotoxic and dangerous for a dog’s life.
Interestingly, the venom produced in the eggshell depends upon the frequency of fangs used by these spiders. In other words, if widow spiders have recently attacked any insect, it is more likely to produce more venom to attack their next victim.
However, black widow spiders only bite according to the size and weight of the prey. For example, only a fraction of venom is enough to kill insects. In contrast, a small venom dose is usually given inside the fur of a healthier dog.
Compared to other similar species, the bite of female black widows is 15 times riskier to make a dog fatal. In some cases, it is also seen that spiders transmit no risk during dry bites with no venom.
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How To Know If A Black Widow Spider Attacks Your Dog?
A few signs and symptoms occur right when your dog gets bitten by a widow spider. When a spider bites a dog, symptoms usually last for a short 2-3 days if proper care is taken.
However, one of the studies on dogs claims that dogs possess sensitivity to a bite. Few breeds can feel immense pain, while some dog breeds may experience no pain. Symptoms of a spider bite happen after a few hours and can last for about 24 hours.
A few of the symptoms that are likely to catch your dog are as follows:
- Swelling on the bite area
- Muscle pains
- Joint stiffness
- Fever and nausea
- Lower blood pressure
How Effective Are Veterinarian Treatments?
As per conventional treatment, veterinarians in South and North America suggested consuming calcium-based foods. These foods were taken to induce calcium inside the body, reducing muscle pain and stiffness to relax muscles. However, the method used to fail quite poorly.
For this reason, animal doctors now use antivenom to treat a spider bite in dogs. But more data is needed to prove whether the treatment shows adequate results. Also, since antivenom is limited in human hospitals, it is far more expensive to consider the safest option.
In recent times, veterinarians have advised using analgesics to treat immense pain and muscle spasms in dogs.
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How To Protect Your Dog From Spider Bites?
Following are a few safety measures which can be taken against the spider bite.
- Do not panic, and try to calm your dog. If the spider’s bite causes extreme swelling, you should rush to an immediate veterinarian for the best treatment.
- Make sure that you wash the biting area with soap and water. Soothe the wounds with aloe vera gel.
- Clean dark and covered areas of your house. Indoors should be cleaned with strong white vinegar. The use of vinegar will keep your dog from coming into contact with black widow spiders.
- Make sure that you allow pest control to disinfect the harmful corners of your house.
- Keep an eye on every movement of your dog. This will alert you when your dog tries to reach any spider web.
Where Can You Find Black Widow Spiders?
Scientifically named Latrodectus mantens, the black widow spiders nest their webs in warm climates. In the United States, the weather remains typically warm, which makes the perfect place for black widow spiders to encounter their prey.
In contrast to their image, Black widow spiders are harmless unless they fear any possible attackers. These black widow spiders build their cobwebs in and around dark places. Insects like flies, crickets, and sometimes cockroaches are likely easy prey in covered areas.
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The venomous spider bites can be treated only with expert advice from veterinarians. Any suggestions from your dog vet should come in handy if symptoms last for more than two days.
Antibiotics and antivenoms like antivenin are the most commonly available treatments in the United States. Medications will help your dog recover quickly without relying on conventional therapies.
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