My dog ate a spider – What Should I Do?

My dog ate a spider. Photo of a dog and a spider.

It’s not bad enough that your dog has to eat everything in sight, but now he’s gone and eaten a spider. Not sure what to do about this gross snack of choice? Read on!

If your dog eats a spider, the first thing you’ll want to do is check to see what type it was. Household spiders are generally harmless, though their bites can get infected. However, poisonous spiders can cause a reaction and need immediate emergency vet care. It’s all about staying calm and assessing the situation to watch for symptoms!

Below is all of the information you need to know to keep your dog’s security and safety in check.

Can dogs eat house spiders?

Dogs can, and often do, eat house spiders! House spiders are harmless and simply a good source of protein. While you will always want to ensure that the house spider is, in fact, a harmless house spider, you don’t need to worry about them.

Be mindful to check for spider bites, though, as those may need some care and attention. More on that in a bit, though.

Are spiders toxic to dogs if eaten?

Dogs can eat both house spiders and poisonous spiders without worrying about toxicity. When digested, their bodies are broken down and digested as a great source of lean protein and fiber for your dog!

Do house spiders bite dogs?

Yes, it’s more than possible that your dog may get a spider bite while eating it. They bite to protect themselves from, well, getting eaten by your dog. So if you notice your dog eating a spider, check his mouth and head in general for bites!

Can a spider bite make a dog sick?

If your dog gets bitten by a regular spider, the worst that will happen is that it will get infected. You can help your dog stay free from this by having a dog-safe product to keep it clean while it heals. Sometimes spider bites don’t show up for a few days, so stay vigilant.

However, spider bites from poisonous or venomous spiders can quickly make your dog sick and need emergency care as soon as you realize that it was a poisonous dog that bit your dog. We’ll discuss this more later.

How do you know if your dog got bit by a spider?

Your dog has fur, so it can be hard to tell if there’s a bite, right? There are a few signs you can look for to show that your dog has been bitten, and those include:

  • Swollen skin
  • Irritated skin that is progressively getting worse
  • Fever

Other tips include manually checking their face and paws for bite puncture wounds for a few days after eating a spider. Sometimes you’ll spot it on your own, and sometimes your dog will pick or scratch at it, indicating that it’s there.

What happens if a dog eats a poisonous spider?

If your dog finds a poisonous spider and eats it, you may also think he’s eating the venom. Which he is, technically. However, a dog’s digestive tract will break down the venom and the spider as it digests.

It’s unlikely that your dog will react to a poisonous spider from the venom alone. However, it is possible, so keep an eye out for the symptoms that we’ll talk about below. However, a venomous spider bite is a very different story.

In an ideal world, poisonous spiders wouldn’t exist. But they do, and they can cross with dogs in areas including, we’re sorry to say your home.

In all cases like these, you need to call your vet and let them know what kind of spider it was, a tarantula, a black widow, a redback spider, a brown recluse a wolf spider, and also talk about the proper protocols you should follow.

While eating a poisonous spider is often harmless, you must be prepared for the unlikely event that it might not be for your dog. Or that the spider bit your dog before it died in its mouth, which can be hard for pet owners to notice, obviously.

If you are dealing with any of these FAQs, call your vet or bring them in for an emergency vet appointment, whatever they recommend.

Photo of a dog looking at a spider in a web.

What happens if my dog ate a spider web?

If nothing is dangerous on the web (such as a spider or a bug that is not safe for dogs), absolutely nothing will. You may find your dog thirsty, though, since it can tickle quite a bit!

What happens if a dog eats a dead spider

A dead spider can’t bite and possibly cause a bad reaction, so a dead spider is just like a “free snack” for your dog. It is a good idea to keep an eye on your dog, though, just in case.

Symptoms to look for if my dog ate a spider

If your dog ate a spider and you want to ensure that you are watching for the right symptoms, good on you! The most common ones pet parents notice include:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Rigid muscles
  • Muscle cramping
  • Skin lesions

These all show that your dog is having a bad reaction to the spider’s venom. These are all signs of any of those poisonous spiders, so get them to emergency care as soon as possible when you notice any or all of these. A toxic reaction from a spider or a spider bite can kill your dog. 

Should I take my dog to the vet?

If you are ever unsure of what’s going on with your dog after eating a spider, the answer is “yes.” Take your dog to the vet and have them look at your dog. Before you go, you’ll want to be able to answer the following questions:

  • What kind of spider was it?
  • How long ago did your dog eat/was bitten by the spider?
  • How many bites did your dog get?
  • Did your dog eat the spider, or was it just bitten?
  • What symptoms are you noticing?

Correctly answering those questions will help your vet know what kind of remedies to prepare and how to intervene with your dog as soon as possible. They may ask for this information ahead of time to prepare as you come in, or they may simply ask you at the appointment.

How can I prevent spider bites?

It’s terrifying to realize that a wayward tarantula bit your dog. If you are looking to make sure that it doesn’t happen, or you reduce its likelihood as much as possible. Focus on the following tasks:

  • Focus on obedience training
  • Keep an eye on your dog
  • Be careful in habitat areas

Focus on obedience training

If you teach your dog to “stop” or “drop” when they pick something up or “leave it” when they are poking at something they shouldn’t, this does a lot. Your dog will listen to the command, whether they’re checking out a cranky tarantula or a fire hydrant. This obedience is your best defense.

Keep an eye on your dog

Don’t let your dog wander randomly without you paying attention. Dog are curious creatures and will quickly find themselves in trouble. Keep your dog firmly under your watchful eye and be attentive to picking at woodpiles or other areas. 

Call them back to you if you are concerned. Your dog can check out plenty of things without putting their health at risk. Your dog really won’t mind, since it means that you’ll play with them instead!

Be careful in habitat areas

Playing wildly in your maintained backyard is one thing. Being in the forest on a hike is another. This is their territory, and you’ll need to assume that they are everywhere.

Be cautious not to let your dog wander, and be very careful about them chasing something they shouldn’t. You don’t need to be scared to take your dog out into the wilderness, but keep them on a leash and be attentive and vigilant.

There is no such thing as total prevention of spider bites. They are everywhere, and dogs will find them. If you run into an issue, don’t be too hard on yourself. These things happen to us as much as dogs, after all. Just be ready to jump into action with this article to guide you!

Lastly

The potential risk of your dog eating a spider depends on whether it is a poisonous spider or a standard house spider. It also depends on whether your dog was bitten or not.

Emergency pet care is required when your dog is bitten by a known venomous spider and could also be required even if your dog simply eats the spider without a bite.

A dog eating a spider can be no big deal or potentially life-threatening. Understanding the risks and how to spot them is essential. Know the problem signs to help keep your dog safe! An untreated poisonous spider bite can be fatal!

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Sara Santos

Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have. You can also find me on my personal blog here.