Would you Know What to Do if Your Dog Was Bitten by a Snake?

You’re taking your dog for a walk and suddenly you hear first him growling, then all of a sudden you hear him cry out in pain! He’s just been bitten by a snake and now you have to know what to do for a snake bite for your dog.  So you may be thinking this can never happen to you but after hiking with dogs for 15 years, it happened to me.  A few weeks ago I was walking with my pups and my Sophy got bit by a snake.  It was truly frightening.

If this scenario happens to you and your pet, you have to know what to do and how fast to do it. Part of the issue is prevention. If you keep a handle on your dog and keep him near to you then it’s less likely he will get bitten. When hiking or walking alone an area where there could be snakes, such as areas with long grasses, you can use a stick to poke ahead to check for snakes, and you should wear high boots just in case.  However, dogs are curious creatures and if they do get bitten despite your supervision then you have to know how to identify the situation. But I had been hiking here for years and had never had a problem before. However

Evidence of Snake Bite in Dogs

If you see swelling, as well as blood or fang marks on your pet, then he may have been bitten. Usually, this is seen around the dog’s face or legs. He may be drooling, have pale gums, muscle spasms, or seem weak or lethargic. He may also have dilated pupils, be in serious pain and even collapse. This is a serious and potentially life-threatening situation for your dog. Other symptoms can include bruising, reddening of the bite area, shock, stoppage of breathing, and pain.

What to Do After A Snake Bite

First, if possible, it is important to know what kind of snake bit your dog.  I remembered from my canine First Aid training that there were only two types of poisonous snakes in Connecticut (where I live).  But for the life of me, I could not remember what they looked like.  So even if you do not know the name of the snake, remember what it looked like so you can describe it to your vet.

If your dog is bit by a poisonous snake, try to keep him still, as the more he moves around, the more the poison can flow through his body. You need to get him to the veterinarian as soon as possible, but in the meantime, you can give your dog Benadryl. Be sure to call the vet to tell them you are heading in with a snake-bitten dog and ask how much Benadryl he can have in the meantime. If it is after hours, look in the yellow pages or online for an emergency service or your own vet may have a recording saying where the emergency after hours clinic is located. If you are a regular Raising Healthy Dog reader, you know you should already have a list of all the 24-hour emergency clinics programmed into your cell phone ot printed out and handy in your glove compartment.

How serious the situation is depends on the snake that bit your pet and how much venom he got into his system. You need to get your dog to a vet within 24 hours in most cases. Some of the poisonous snakes found in the U.S. are rattlesnakes, cotton mouths, and coral snakes.

Problems such as snake bite are why dog owners should learn dog CPR in case their pet stops breathing. You should also have a dog first aid kit stocked with basic first aid type supplies.

All in all, more than 15,000 dogs and cats are bitten by snakes every year all over the U.S. Some are poisonous and some are harmless, but you still need to be prepared and know what to do if your dog is bitten by a snake.


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