Sometimes the greatest threats to life and limb are too small for many people to take notice of. What this means is that dogs, with their heightened senses, will find a way to injure themselves with small but surprisingly potent health hazards. Two of these hazards include spider bites and insect stings. Of the two dangers, spider bites are the greater threat, though in the United States, only two spiders are dangerous to dogs: The female black widow spider (distinguished by a black body and red hourglass shape on their undersides) and the brown recluse spider (distinguished by their light brown color and a dark brown mark on their backs). Spider bites are rarely fatal, but they still present a danger to dogs and require veterinary attention as soon as possible.
Black widow spiders are the worst of this small lot of creatures. Dogs bitten by black widow spiders are marked by a small red spot that sometimes swells. As the wound grows more painful and the venom moves through the dog's veins, the afflicted dog will become weak, clumsy, begin to drool more than usual, have difficulty breathing, and go into convulsions. Afflicted dogs should be kept as still as possible, and if a limb was bitten, that limb should be placed below the dog's heart. Brown recluse spiders pose their own dangers.
The bite of a brown recluse spider will cause a painful blister, noticeable after a day or so as the skin around the blister turns black and becomes ulcerated, causing the dog to become weaker. Though not an immediate threat, if a brown recluse spider's bite isn't treated quickly, the blister will spread and severely damage your dog's body. Insects pose less of a threat to dogs than spiders.
A dog's fur will protect it from most insect stings, but their faces and foot pads are still vulnerable targets. In most cases, the dog is stung only once. One sting isn't an emergency and treating a limited number of stings doesn't require much in the way of medical attention. The stinger can be removed with a pair of tweezers and a cold pack pressed against the sting wound. A mixture of water combined with either baking soda or instant meat tenderizer can be applied to the wound to help treat any insect venom in your dog's system.
Multiple insect stings may send a dog into shock. Immediate treatment of shock begins by laying the dog down and keeping the dog's head lower and closer to the ground or floor than the rest of its body. The dog must be kept warm and calm and it shouldn't eat, drink, or ingest anything while it's in shock. Though nowhere near as dramatic as a fight with a bear or wild cat, a dog's bout with a lowly bug can bring even the largest canine down.
The little threats can be so insidious, as they tricks people into underestimating the danger posed by something apparently unimportant. Now, you're wise to their scam.
Jeff Clare runs Dog Training News where you can read many more articles on dog control. For more general advice on dog health go to Dogs And Dog News.