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Can Dogs Live with a Tarantula?
We all know those people - the ones who keep spiders and other creepy-crawly things as pets. As a dog owner, you love your furry canine companion, and if you've ever considered getting another sort-of-furry companion, like a tarantula, you've probably asked yourself the question, "Could my dog and my tarantula get along?"
Tarantulas, luckily, aren't overly-venomous, meaning that if your doggo gets bitten by one, he or she isn't going to have any lasting damages. So, as far as the danger element, your pup won't be at any fatal risks.
That being said though, tarantulas aren't exactly known for getting along with other species, so while you likely are able to have a dog and a tarantula under the same roof, it's relatively unlikely they'll co-exist or ever have positive interactions. For more information on whether or not your dog and tarantula can get along, read more!
Signs Your Dog and Your Tarantula aren't Getting Along
Like we said, the possibility of keeping a dog and tarantula under the same roof could be likely and probably won't end in any sort of tragedy. However, this typically will mean keeping your dog and tarantula separate and not letting them interact.
There are a few reasons or this, but the primary one is that dogs are prey-driven animals, and tarantulas, in their own way, are as well. Tarantulas are set up with fangs that are designed to incapacitate their prey and dogs are equipped with teeth and claws to do the same. It's likely that both animals will view the other as either a threat or a tasty snack.
If you notice that your dog is stalking your tarantula's cage, drooling, or following it too close as it moves around, it's likely that your dog thinks your tarantula is a delicious dinner waiting to happen.
This, though not fatal, could be really dangerous for your pup and could cause a ton of pain for them. If a doggo bites down on a tarantula, or a tarantula bites down on a doggo, your poor pup could be in a world of hurt, and your tarantula could likely be killed, too. If your dog is showing signs of aggression, howling, barking, and spying on the tarantula cage, it's probably best to continue keeping them as separate as possible.
History of Dogs and Tarantulas Together
If you're not really a spider person (hey, we get it, we fancy ourselves dog people), you might wonder why people have begun keeping tarantulas as pets. It's a fair question, as they're not the traditional, cuddly, furry pets that most people are after.
However, tons of people keep them, and here's why: tarantulas are relatively harmless and friendly spiders, even though they look pretty terrifying. If you're into spiders, but don't want to risk serious damage if yours bites you, a tarantula is pretty much the way to go. Though they have venom in their bite, if they nab you with their fangs, you won't suffer any long-term issues. Sure, it will hurt, but you won't be in any serious danger.
Additionally, people loving to keep tarantulas because, well, they think they're pretty! They're neat to watch, observe, and learn about, too, and there are dozens of species to choose from!
The Science of Dog and Tarantula Interaction
When spiders bite anything, they release a venom. Tarantulas contain a special venom that can cause serious discomfort, lots of pain, but fortunately, no long-term damage (in most cases). Tarantulas have two lines of defense, they use their fangs to inflict bites, or they can use its urticating abdominal hairs to cause soft tissue or eye irritation.
Luckily, because tarantula venom is designed to incapacitate small animals, your doggo is likely going to be okay if bitten. That being said, if your pup is teacup size, you might be a little more concerned. A bite from a tarantula is similar to a wasp sting for your dog. There will be moderate pain, swelling, discomfort, fever, and the possibility of allergic reactions like drooling and vomiting, but your pup won't suffer any long-term issues because of it.
Training Your Dog to Cohabitate with Your Spider
Okay, Okay. We don't really think there's any good advice on how you can train your pup to walk side-by-side with your tarantula. We also don't think there's a high probability of your dog and spider having the next unlikely-internet-sensation-friendship. That being said, though, there are plenty of ways that you can train your dog to co-exist with your spider without interacting with it.
For example, make sure your dog is well versed in the basic obedience commands. A firm "no", "stay", or "leave it" can go a long way when it comes to a potential tarantula bite on your doggo's snout. Further, just as people train their pups to stay off furniture or away from the pantry, you can train your dog to leave your spider's room or cage alone.
Make sure your dog understands that staying away from the spider cage is imperative. Punish them appropriately when they get too curious or get too close to the spider cage, and reward them vigorously when they follow your commands.
It's also important that your dog is trained to not attack unless commanded to. If your spider accidentally gets out and you see your dog running toward it, ensure that he or she is trained enough to know that unless you've given them the command, they are under no circumstances allowed to chase, attack, or run for the spider.
By a Great Dane lover Hanna Marcus
Published: 04/05/2018, edited: 04/06/2020
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