Can dogs eat spiders?

Quick Answer

Dogs should not eat spiders. Most spiders are not toxic to dogs, but some spiders can be very dangerous and even deadly if ingested by dogs. It’s best to keep dogs from eating spiders to avoid potential health risks.

Can Dogs Eat Spiders?

Spiders are not a natural part of a dog’s diet. Dogs are primarily carnivores and thrive on a meat-based diet. Spiders provide little nutritional value for dogs. Most veterinarians recommend keeping spiders and other insects out of a dog’s diet.

While spiders may not be toxic to dogs, the bites and stings of some species of spiders can contain venom that is harmful. Dogs that eat a black widow or brown recluse spider are at risk of being envenomated internally. This can cause severe reactions, pain, and even death in some cases.

Some spiders may also carry parasites, bacteria, or other microorganisms that can infect dogs if ingested. Eating spiders introduces unnecessary health risks for dogs when they can thrive on dog foods and treats designed to provide balanced nutrition.

Are Spiders Toxic to Dogs?

Most species of spiders are not toxic to dogs. Some common spiders dogs may encounter include:

– Daddy long legs spiders – Not toxic
– Jumping spiders – Not toxic
– Orb weaver spiders – Not toxic
– Cellar spiders – Not toxic
– Cross spiders – Not toxic
– Huntsman spiders – Not toxic

However, there are a few species of spiders that can be dangerous or deadly to dogs if bitten or ingested:

Black Widow Spiders

Black widow spiders are one of the most venomous spiders in North America. Their venom is a neurotoxin that can cause abdominal pain, muscle spasms, vomiting, and respiratory distress in dogs.

While fatalities are rare, the venom can be potentially deadly to dogs. Emergency veterinary treatment is required if a dog is bitten or eats a black widow spider.

Brown Recluse Spiders

The brown recluse spider is also highly venomous and can cause significant reactions in dogs. Their venom contains enzymes that can damage and kill cells and tissue at the bite location.

This can lead to severe skin lesions and tissue death in dogs. Other symptoms include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting. Dogs that ingest a brown recluse spider are also at high risk of these damaging effects internally.

Hobo Spiders

Hobo spider bites contain venom that can cause temporary mild symptoms like redness and swelling. But in rare cases, the venom can also cause more severe reactions in dogs including weakness, drooling, tremoring, and lethargy.

Brazilian Wandering Spiders

Considered one of the most venomous spiders in the world, the Brazilian wandering spider’s powerful neurotoxin can be deadly to dogs if envenomated. Symptoms of a bite include salivation, irregular heartbeat, weakness, paralysis, and ultimately respiratory failure in extreme cases.

Signs of Spider Bites in Dogs

If your dog is bitten by a spider, you may observe some of these signs:

– Puncture wounds or red marks on the skin
– Swelling, redness, and irritation around the bite
– Pain or tenderness
– Itching and licking at the bite
– Small bumps on the skin

Your dog may also show these signs of illness if severely envenomated:

– Drooling or foaming at the mouth
– Whimpering in pain
– Lethargy and weakness
– Trembling or muscle twitches
– Difficulty breathing
– Vomiting or loss of appetite

Spider bites can progress rapidly in dogs, so it’s important to take your dog to the vet as soon as you notice any symptoms following a confirmed or possible spider bite. Prompt veterinary treatment can help manage your dog’s reaction and pain.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Spider

If you see your dog eat a spider or suspect they may have ingested one, take action right away:

– If it was a potentially dangerous spider like a black widow, call your vet or an emergency animal hospital immediately. You may need to take your dog in for emergency care to treat envenomation, monitor your dog’s reaction, and provide supportive care.

– If you don’t know what kind of spider was ingested, call your regular veterinarian for guidance. Describe any symptoms you are seeing in your dog. Your vet may recommend you monitor your dog closely at home or bring them into the clinic.

– If your dog ate a common, non-toxic house spider, call your vet to document the incident in case your dog develops any reaction or symptoms like vomiting or appetite loss. They can advise you on next steps.

– Try to capture or take a photo of the spider your dog ate if it’s still in sight. This can help identify the species and related health risks.

– Monitor your dog closely over the next several hours. Look for signs of pain, muscle tremors, excessive drooling, difficulty breathing or swallowing, lethargy, or other concerning symptoms. Take your dog to the vet immediately if any of these develop.

– Avoid inducing vomiting at home unless specifically instructed by your veterinarian. With venomous spider species, vomiting can increase risks.

Your vet will determine treatment based on the type of spider ingested and your dog’s symptoms. They may prescribe medications to manage pain, nausea, or other issues. Hospitalization for close monitoring may be required in severe cases.

Call your vet any time you have concerns after your dog eats a spider. Fast action is crucial to treat envenomation and keep your dog safe.

Preventing Dogs From Eating Spiders

Here are some tips to keep spiders out of your dog’s reach and prevent spider ingestion:

– Treat your home and yard for spiders. Pest control measures like sealing cracks and crevices around your property can help reduce spider infestations.

– Clear clutter like piles of wood, rocks, and leaf litter where spiders may hide and nest, especially brown recluses.

– Use insecticides and repellents approved for spiders around the exterior perimeter of your home. Indoors, use pet-safe spider sprays and traps.

– Keep pet food bowls and water dishes away from walls and corners where spiders may lurk.

– Sweep up spider webs regularly before they accumulate around your house.

– Supervise your dog when outdoors exploring, hiking, or playing in wooded areas. Don’t allow them to eat spiders they encounter.

– Train your dog to leave spiders and other insects alone on command. Redirect them from trying to eat spiders they come across.

– Consider scheduling regular pest control and yard spraying to reduce spider populations on your property.

Taking proactive steps to control spider populations indoors and out can significantly decrease the chances your dog will be exposed to and eat potentially dangerous arachnids. But accidents can still happen, so always stay vigilant monitoring your dog’s environment.

Are Wolf Spiders Poisonous to Dogs?

Wolf spiders are very common spiders found throughout the United States. Luckily, most wolf spider species pose minimal danger to dogs.

Their venom is designed to subdue small invertebrate prey like insects. It does not usually cause significant reactions in dogs. Some redness, itching, and mild swelling may result from a wolf spider bite.

Serious envenomation is unlikely. Only very sensitive dogs may experience more severe symptoms from a wolf spider bite. Fatal wolf spider bites are extremely rare in dogs.

If ingested, wolf spiders also do not appear to cause notable poisoning signs in dogs based on veterinary case reports. Overall, wolf spiders should not be toxic to most canine patients.

However, all spider bites and ingestion pose some risks for dogs. So it’s still smart to discourage dogs from eating or messing with wolf spiders when encountered. Manage any bites or ingestion incidents under your veterinarian’s guidance.

What Spiders Are Deadly to Dogs?

These spiders can be lethal to dogs if bitten or ingested:

Black Widow Spiders

Black widow spider venom is a dangerous neurotoxin to dogs. Bites can cause painful muscle spasms, respiratory failure, paralysis, and potential death in rare cases.

Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown recluse spider bites can create severe skin lesions and tissue damage in dogs. Their venom can also trigger systemic reactions like fever, vomiting, and lethargy.

Brazilian Wandering Spiders

Considered one of the most venomous spiders globally, these spiders can cause extreme envenomation effects including respiratory paralysis and death in dogs.

Redback Spiders

Related to black widows, Australian redback spider bites can also be fatal to dogs in rare instances. Symptoms are similar including muscle tremors, drooling, vomiting, and lethargy.

Sydney Funnel-Web Spider

Another dangerous Australian spider, funnel-web spider bites can cause neurological symptoms like salivation and trembling, progressing to seizures, coma, and potential death.

Mouse Spiders

Mouse spider venom is closely related to deadly funnel-web spider venom. Dog bites can also result in severe envenomation and require emergency veterinary treatment.

If you suspect your dog was bitten by one of these spiders or ingested one, seek immediate veterinary help. Quick treatment can help prevent these spiders’ toxins from becoming deadly to your pup.

Common House Spiders Safe for Dogs

Most common household spiders are not dangerous to dogs. These species are generally safe if ingested in small amounts:

Grass Spiders

Their venom only causes mild symptoms like temporary pain and itching if bitten.

Parson Spiders

Not an aggressive species. Bites result in minimal reactions.

Cellar Spiders

Too small to bite through dog’s skin. No venom risks.

Jumping Spiders

Venom not harmful to dogs. Bites very rare from timid spiders.

Orb Weaver Spiders

Relatively passive spiders. Mild venom effects.

Crab Spiders

Unlikely to bite dogs. Weak venom causes temporary redness if they do.

While not toxic, allowing your dog to eat common house spiders can still cause gastrointestinal upset. Monitor your pup and call your vet with any concerns.

What if My Dog Eats a Poisonous Spider?

If your dog ingests a venomous spider like a black widow or brown recluse, immediate veterinary care is vital. Effects of venomous spider bites internally can include:

– Excessive drooling
– Muscle tremors or spasms
– Abdominal pain
– Fever
– Weakness and lethargy
– Breathing difficulties
– Tissue necrosis
– Paralysis
– Potentially death

Don’t try to induce vomiting at home – this can worsen effects of venom. Careful monitoring, medications, hydration therapy, pain management, and supportive care will be needed.

Hospitalization in intensive care may be required to treat severe spider envenomation and related complications in dogs. The quicker you get veterinary help, the better your dog’s chances for recovery without long-term effects.

Can Spider Bites Make Dogs Sick?

Though most spider bites cause minimal reactions, some venomous spiders can make dogs severely ill if bitten:

Spider Venom Effects
Black Widow Neurotoxic venom can cause muscle spasms, respiratory failure, vomiting, weakness
Brown Recluse Tissue damage at bite site, fever, organ damage in rare cases
Brazilian Wandering Paralysis, irregular heartbeat, death in extreme envenomations

Spider bites can also produce these general signs of illness in dogs:

– Loss of appetite
– Lethargy and depression
– Pale gums
– Increased heart rate
– Fever
– Shaking or tremors
– Skin lesions or tissue death

Bites from more toxic spiders almost always necessitate veterinary treatment to manage your dog’s reaction and prevent life-threatening effects.

What to Feed a Dog After Eating a Spider

If your dog eats a spider, continue feeding their normal diet – with a few caveats:

– Hold off on food for 1-2 hours initially. This gives time for any stomach upset from the ingestion to settle.

– When you resume food, start with a bland diet for the next 12-24 hours. Boiled chicken and rice is easy on your dog’s gastrointestinal system.

– Avoid any rich, fatty foods temporarily. Stick with this bland diet to allow your dog’s stomach to recover.

– Don’t immediately return to your dog’s regular diet. Gradually transition back to their regular food over 3-5 days.

– If symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite occur after eating a spider, withhold food for at least 6 hours. Then reintroduce the bland diet in small portions.

– Make sure your dog stays hydrated by providing access to fresh water. Consider adding low-sodium chicken broth to encourage drinking.

– Monitor your dog closely for any signs of stomach upset over the next few days. Call your vet if issues persist more than 24 hours after spider ingestion.

Going easy on your dog’s digestive system can help prevent an adverse reaction after they consume a spider. But always consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Can Dogs Eat Dead Spiders?

Dogs should avoid eating spiders, even if they are already deceased. Here’s why:

– Venom – Dead venomous spiders like black widows can still inject neurotoxins if ingested. This causes notable health risks.

– Bacteria – Spiders’ bodies can harbor bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli that live on after death and could sicken your dog.

– Parasites – Spiders can transmit parasitic organisms like tapeworms and ticks to dogs internally if eaten.

– Legs – The sharp, pointy legs and other body parts of dead spiders pose hazards like getting lodged in or puncturing your dog’s throat, stomach or intestines if swallowed.

– Toxins – Chemical pesticides or insecticides on a dead spider could potentially poison dogs if ingested.

– Allergies – Some dogs may have allergic reactions if they are sensitive to certain proteins found in spiders.

Overall, it’s safest to keep dead and live spiders away from dogs. The risks outweigh any minimal nutritional value. Supervise your dog when outside and train them using positive reinforcement not to touch or eat spiders they come across, dead or alive.

If your dog does ingest a deceased spider, monitor them closely for any symptoms of illness and call your veterinarian right away if you have any concerns.

Can Eating Spiders Kill a Dog?

In most cases, dogs will not die from eating spiders. Many common spider species are harmless if ingested.

However, in rare cases, bites or ingestion of highly venomous spiders can result in death in dogs unless treated rapidly. Spiders with toxins potentially fatal to dogs include:

Black Widow Spiders

The neurotoxic venom causes severe muscle spasms, breathing difficulties, paralysis and potential death in dogs in rare cases.

Brown Recluse Spiders

Severe systemic reactions and tissue damage at the bite site or in internal organs can be fatal if not treated urgently.

Brazilian Wandering Spiders

Considered one of the most venomous spiders in the world. Dog deaths have occurred from bites.

Sydney Funnel-Web Spider

Aggressive spider with powerful neurotoxin. Can cause respiratory failure and death if not treated promptly.

Mouse Spiders

Venom similar to deadly funnel-web spiders. Also capable of causing severe envenomation that can turn fatal.

If you have any reason to suspect your dog ingested one of these spiders, seek emergency veterinary care immediately. Prompt, aggressive treatment is needed to prevent possible death from extreme envenomation.

With most other spiders, death is very unlikely but you should still monitor for concerning symptoms. Call your veterinarian with any health concerns after your dog eats a spider.


In most cases, dogs should avoid eating spiders. While the majority of spiders won’t cause extreme reactions, some spider species can be very dangerous or even deadly if ingested, especially venomous varieties.

To keep your dog safe, supervise them closely outdoors, treat your home and yard to control spider populations, and train your dog to leave spiders alone. If your dog does eat a spider, monitor them rigorously for any concerning symptoms and don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian or visit an emergency vet clinic if needed. Fast treatment can help prevent serious, potentially fatal envenomation.

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