What To Do If Your Dog is Bitten by a Snake
If your dog is bitten by a venomous snake, immediate, urgent care is needed. Here’s what to do—and what not to do (don’t apply a tourniquet)
According to the ASPCA, there may be more than 100,000 venomous snakebites that occur in dogs and cats every year.
The most important thing you can do regarding snake bites is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Keep your dog leashed on your walk, keep to worn trails, keep your cats inside, and always monitor the area for venomous snakes if they occur in your environment. Treatment for snake bites can be very costly, so it’s important to be as preventative as possible if you live in an area known for venomous snakes.
If you do come across a snake, leave it alone. If you identify a venomous snake on your property, call the appropriate services (like animal control) to have it removed.
Cottonmouth Snake (Agkistrodon Piscivorus) photo by Wirepec/bigstock.com
If you suspect your dog was bitten by a snake, here are the signs to look for.
Signs of Snake Bite:
- Weakness or collapse
- Shaking or twitching, muscle tremors
- Bloody urine
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
What if my dog is bitten?
First things first—stay calm. If possible and safe, ID the snake. Take a picture if you can.
Get your dog to a veterinarian immediately. Try and keep your dog calm and restrict moving/running as much as possible. Do not attempt to suck the venom out. Do not apply a tourniquet. Once you arrive at the clinic, your vet will determine where your dog was bitten and begin treatment. This may include antibiotics, fluids, antivenom, oxygen, and pain medications.
If taken care of early, most pets are able to recover from snake bites. But without the appropriate urgent treatment, snake bites can be fatal.
Be prepared—consider putting together your own pet first aid kit!