Pet Savvy, Once Bitten, What To Do?

Originally posted January 2008
by Michelle Harrell aka “Poodlemama”

Michelle's Magical PoodlesWe’ve all seen them, the creepy crawlies, those dreaded spiders that we wonder about.
Recently, I saw my one year old poodle jumping excitedly around something small and brown on the floor. As I approached, I realized it was a Brown Recluse Spider. Brown Recluse spiders are found in the south from California to Virginia.
They’ve been found as far north as Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Now, a great majority of spider bites are harmless to pets, but you should take any bite seriously, especially if you suspect it to be from a Brown Recluse or Black Widow.
Here are some steps to follow when your dog or cat is bitten by a spider:
First, and most importantly, take your pet to the vet as soon as possible. Cleaning the wound is very important for preventing infection. Your vet might also prescribe antibiotics or other medication depending on the severity of the bite. Ice packs can also be very helpful in reducing the swelling If the bite is more severe, prevent your pet from moving too much as this will enable the venom to circulate more quickly throughout the blood stream. Also, keep the site of the bite lower than the heart for this same reason. This is especially important with the potentially deadly Black Widow bite. In the rare case that your pet is bitten by a Black Widow, an antivenin can be administered by a vet An over-the-counter pet bug bite remedy may be applied to less severe spider bites. If there is a possibility that the bite was from a Brown Recluse or Black Widow,
though, take your pet to the vet before trying this approach. Black Widow bites are potentially deadly, and Brown Recluse bites can cause enormous infected lesions if left untreated. Therefore, it’s important to seek veterinary care as soon as you suspect a bite from one of these spiders.
If you are lucky enough to capture the spider that bit your pet, bring it with you to the vet for proper identification, this will help with the appropriate treatment.
And finally, especially when on vacation, keep those local vet and emergency clinic numbers handy.
Until next time, happy trails and tails.

Michelle’s Magical Poodles is a show full of classic and traditional circus style tricks. For more information about Michelle and her Magical Poodles, please visit her online at