Even though people live in a more urban world today than how they lived before, there are still a lot of snakes around. Only Alaska and Hawaii can claim that they do not have native venomous snakes. It is estimated that about 15,000 dogs get bitten by poisonous snakes every year. Between 70 to 80 percent of those bites occur around a dog’s face and head. This would indicate that those dogs bitten must have been bothering a snake. In the United States most snake bites to dogs are by rattlesnakes.
There are at least nineteen types of poisonous snakes in the United States of America which include rattlesnakes, copperheads, water moccasins and coral snakes. Most of these snakes can be found from Florida northward and to points west.
If your dog is bitten by a snake, the chances are that he will recover from it. If he is bitten by a poisonous snake, even if the bite is from an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake or a coral snake it is estimated that about 80 percent of the time your dog will recover. However, your dog’s recovery will depend on several factors which are listed below.
* Where is your dog bitten
* What type of snake bit him
* What’s the size of your dog
* How many times is your dog bitten
* How old is the snake
* How bad is the bite
* How much venom is injected
However, not all snake bites are the same. A glancing bite may not inflict much venom but 3 to 4 bites would cause a dog to react a lot worse than if he was bitten only once. Chihuahuas and St. Bernards that get bitten by rattlesnakes will have different reactions to the bite. If a Chow Chow gets bitten by a snake, his reaction may not be too bad because the snake would get a mouth full of hair.
If your dog is bitten by a snake and you act quickly, you could save your dog’s life. Doing the following will help your dog until you can get him to a veterinarian and it will also help the veterinarian to know what to do to treat your dog.
1. If possible, try to identify the snake by looking at its size, color and patterns. Listen to hear if there is a rattle. It will help your veterinarian to know what type of snake bit your dog. However, whatever you do, do not get too close to the angry snake.
2. Check your dog for bite marks. It’s possible that the snake bit him more than once.
3. If your dog is bitten on the leg, use a piece of your shirt or any piece of fabric available to make a quick tourniquet. Snugly tie the tourniquet on the leg above the bite but not too tight. What you want is to slow down the venom from spreading towards the heart. Once the venom reaches his heart it will be pumped all over his body.
4. Immediately take your dog to your veterinarian or to an animal hospital. Try to keep your dog calm all the way to the veterinarian.
Many dogs get bitten by snakes when you take them for a walk, go running or go hiking in areas that are unfamiliar to them especially if you take them in wooded areas. You can prevent them from getting snake bites by keeping them leashed. Remember that dogs are very curious and want to explore every where.
As much as possible, keep your dog from exploring holes in the ground, woodpiles and any other place where a snake may be hiding. It is much safer to use pathways rather than wandering through the woods because it’s easier to see a snake.
Because rattlesnakes can come out at night, you should be very careful when you take your dog for a walk at night. Always be on the alert and if you hear a rattle keep your dog at your side while you locate the snake and move away slowly.
If your dog insists in exploring a hole, call him back and get him to ignore the hole. His curiosity can get him in a lot of trouble if a snake is in there.
There is a training program where dogs are taught to avoid snakes. This training program is a bit strenuous because it involves exposing dogs to snakes by using an e-collar. When the dog goes near the snake he gets a buzz from the collar. Usually, harmless snakes are used to do this type of training. Some trainers use Diamondback Rattlesnakes to train dogs specifically to learn to avert rattlesnakes. Therefore, dogs that get this type of training usually avoid snakes. So, if you want your dog to avoid snakes you can have him trained to be snake-proof.