As summer comes to a close and we start moving into fall, that means spider season is coming. Spiders are everywhere and often depicted as creepy crawly biting nuances, but they are in fact a useful critter because of their role in controlling your home from flies, aphids, wasps, mosquitoes and lots of other insidious beasties. It’s difficult to protect your pet from them 100% of the time since pets naturally have an inquisitive nature, but there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening.
The two most common spiders that you need to look out for are the black widow and brown recluse. Because holes, cracks, crevices, trash and clutter are associated with human structures, it tends to attract these types of spiders. Though very poisonous, spiders are not aggressive and most bites occur because the spider is trapped or unintentionally contacted.
The black widow spider can be found throughout North America, but are most common in the southern and western areas of the United States. They can be distinguished by their shiny black body and red hourglass marking on the underside of their body. Sometimes they can have red specks on the topside as well. Black widows are usually found in undisturbed areas such as woodpiles, under eaves, fences and other areas where debris has accumulated. Indoors, they like dark areas near vents or seek small cracks or holes in the corner of the house.
The brown recluse spider is mainly found in the Midwest and Southern part of the United States. They are brown with a characteristic dark violin-shaped marking on their head. They prefer to weave their webs in secluded, dry, sheltered areas such as underneath logs, or in piles of rocks or leaves. Inside, they can build their web in a dark closet, in a shoe or in the attic to name a few. The brown recluse spider cannot bite without some form of counter pressure, usually through unintentional contact that traps the spider against the skin.
Spiders love clutter. To make your yard less attractive to spiders, clear away all vegetation, get rid of rock piles and move any woodpiles away from the house to help prevent spider havens. As the leaves begin to come down this fall, try to clear away any leaf piles and shrubbery. As you walk around your house, clear away any clutter, check your vents and do not keep any woodpiles inside. If you happen to find any cobwebs try to quickly remove them.
If you suspect your pet may have been bitten by a spider, try to keep them as still as possible to stop the venom from traveling further around the body. Wash the bite wound thoroughly with Betadine solution or soap and water and take them to the vet straight away.