While you might not live in an area where snake bites are a common risk for your dog, it is important that every pet owner know what to do in the case that their dog is bitten by a snake. There is always the chance that a snake could slither through your property or that you might encounter one while hiking or enjoying nature with your dog. Smaller snakes might not be very venomous, and the risk to your dog might be small if this is the kind of snake that has bitten your dog. However, it can be hard to tell what kind of snake your dog has been attacked by in the moment, and assuming it is a benign snake is never a good idea.
The more that you know about what to do when your dog is bitten by a snake, the more likely it will be that your pet will survive this kind of experience. You will need to be sure that you consider the tips in this article before you go hiking or take your dog out to places where snakes might be present. The more that you know about the risk of snake bites and what to do if your dog is bitten, the better off you and your dog will be.
How Will I Know My Dog Has Been Bitten by a Snake?
In the first moments after your dog has reacted to the presence of a snake, you might not be certain that they have been bitten. Your dog might have cried out, or maybe they did not have time to yelp. Make sure that you look over your dog’s face and their legs and feet since these are the most common places where a snake might bite a curious dog. Most snakes have some form of venom that stops the clotting of the blood near the bite, so you should be able to find the bitemarks by looking for blood.
If you have not been able to locate a bite, you need to start assessing your dog’s behavior. If your dog is shaking or seems to be feeling poorly, you should consider it likely that you have just not been able to locate the wound related to the bite. You will need to take immediate action if your dog is limping, bleeding, or holding up a leg, but you might have to look for the bite mark more thoroughly if it is not obvious where the wound might be.
Actions to Take as You Are Driving to the Vet
The most important thing that you can do if your dog has been bitten by a snake is to rush them to the veterinarian. If you know what kind of snake has bitten your dog, make sure to call the clinic and tell them what kind of snake it was. This can help facilitate the clinic getting access to the right anti-venom to treat your pet. Be sure that you call the vet as you are heading in since they will need to drop everything to attend to your pet. Snake bites can be deadly very rapidly, so time is of the essence in these situations.
1. Rinse the Wound
If you have found the wound, rinse it with some water to get some of the venom out of the tissues that have been impacted by the bite. This can give you some more time to get your dog treatment and help the spread of the venom through your dog’s body.
2. Keep the Wound Below the Heart
You will want to keep the wound below the heart, and you need to keep your dog as still as possible to prevent the spread of the venom throughout the body. This can be hard if your dog is upset but try your best to keep these factors in mind. Put pressure on the wound as well if it is bleeding a lot due to the venom in the wound. Be sure that you do not get any venom into your mouth or an open wound on your own hands.
3. Administer CPR
If you do not know how to give a dog CPR, you can call your vet clinic and ask them to tell you how to do it. You will want to be sure that your dog is not breathing before you start this activity, but it might give you the time to get your dog to the vet and into emergency care.
4. Be Calm
The most important thing to do is to be as calm as possible. If your dog thinks that you are stressed, they will become worried, and this can speed up their heart rate. A rapid heart rate can spread the venom much more quickly, so you will want to avoid this outcome at all costs.
Snakebites Can be Very Serious and Require Immediate Action
If your dog has been bitten by a snake, you need to take immediate action to save their life. You will need to try to remain calm and get your dog to the vet as soon as possible. The more efficient you are at taking action, the more likely you will be to save your dog’s life. There are some states where snakebites are a much bigger risk for dogs, and you should consider providing both you and your dog with snake awareness training if you live in these regions. The training classes that are offered can teach your dog to detect and avoid snakes, and they can also help you to react properly if there is a dangerous situation that takes place involving a snake and your dog.
Being prepared and educated about the way to deal with a snakebite can make all the difference in you and your dog’s safety when outside. Be sure that you are prepared to attend to a snakebite with immediate action so that you can prevent the loss of your dog’s life due to this kind of unfortunate accident.
West Ashley Veterinary Clinic in Charleston, SC offers a full range of veterinary services to keep your pets happy and healthy through all stages of life!