WILD- Lesson 3- Snakebites

Venomous snakes can reside in many areas of the US. These dangerous creatures can pose a life-threatening hazard to your pets. The Unites States has a multitude of venomous snakes in each region. To find out what types of venomous snakes are in your area Click Here for a list of snakes by state.

What do you do if a snake bites your dog? Well, first it’s worth mentioning what you do not do:

  • Do not take out a pocketknife and cut Xs over the fang marks
  • Do not attempt to suck venom out of the bite

Instead, you should try to identify the snake by taking note of its size, color patterns and the presence or absence of a rattle at the end of the tail. Look the dog over carefully for fang marks, noting that there may be more than one bite wound. If bitten on a leg, wrap a constricting band on the affected limb snugly at a level just above the bite wound (on the body side of the wound). This band could be fashioned of a shirtsleeve or other fabric and should be snug but not excessively tight. The compression around the limb will slow the spread of the venom. The dog may lose the limb but that is better than losing his life. Start your journey to the nearest animal hospital as quickly as possible while trying to keep the dog as quiet as possible. The more your pet moves around, the faster the venom will be circulated throughout its body.

Preventing Snake Bites

  • Controlling your dog with a leash
  • Do not allow your dog to explore holes in the ground or dig under logs, flat rocks or planks.
  • Stay on open paths where there is an opportunity for snakes to be visible.
  • Keep nighttime walks to a minimum; rattlers are nocturnal most of the year.
  • If you hear a rattlesnake, keep your dog at your side until you locate the snake; then move away.
  • Off-trail hiking with an unleashed dog may stir up a snake and you may be as likely a victim as your dog.
  • If your dog seems unusually curious about “something” hidden in the grass, back off immediately until you know what it is.


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