Most spider bites and scorpion stings cause only localized pain and can be handled with first aid for bug bites and stings. But a handful of these creepy crawlies have venom that can be dangerous to your puppy. Learn what kinds of poisonous spiders or scorpions might be lurking in your back yard, and be prepared what to do should your puppy try to play with one and get stung or bitten.
Spider and Scorpion Dangers
Bark Scorpions Bark scorpions are deadly but only 1-1/2 inches long, yellow to brown, with two black stripes on their backs. This scorpion has more slender pincers and tail segments than less poisonous varieties. It’s found in Arizona, western New Mexico, northern Mexico and the west bank of the Colorado River in California. Bark scorpion stings cause drooling, paralysis and collapse and death in as little as 15 minutes. Don’t wait to administer first aid in these cases—seek veterinary care immediately.
Widow Spiders The more dangerous spider bites cause dogs to develop chills, fever, labored breathing and shock within 30 minutes to six hours. A variety of widow spiders, about the size of a blueberry, have bright red hourglass designs on their tummy. Neurotoxin in the venom causes severe, painful cramps in all the large muscles and sometimes paralysis.
Recluse Spiders Brown recluse spiders like to hide and are found all over the United States. Most have a violin-shaped marking on their back. The bite isn’t immediately dangerous but over time the venom eats away the surrounding flesh, causing ulcers that take months to heal. When hidden by puppy fur, the sore may not be noticed right away.
Tarantulas Tarantulas can have a leg span of four inches or more. The bite isn’t terribly toxic, and most of these giants are pretty docile. But a pushy pup that pesters the spider or hurts it can get a bite which potentially could result in an anaphylactic reaction.