Snake Season Has Begun — Do You Know What to Do?

Summertime means it’s snake season, and for dog owners, that means extra vigilance when it comes to allowing our playful pups to romp in fields and woodlands where snakes dwell.

Being diligent can save your pet’s life. Take Guinness, for example. When the 6-month-old puppy leapt between a rattlesnake and one of his foster humans, the rescue dog was bitten twice in the face. Thanks to the level-headed response of his owners, Guinness lived and was adopted by his foster parents.

What To Do If Your Dog Gets Bit By A Snake

Snakebites can be dangerous or even fatal to dogs, and once your pup has been bitten, time is of the essence to save its life. Read on to learn more about snake bites and what you should do in the event of an emergency.

Timing Is Everything

Not all snakes are venomous, but those that are can be fatal to a dog that doesn’t get the necessary treatment in time. A snake’s venom potency can be affected by everything from its size and age, to the time of year, location of the bite, and the amount of movement by the victim after the bite (as movement increases the venom’s spread).

Photo: Pixabay

Check for Snake Bite Symptoms

Look for small puncture wounds and bleeding. The site of the bite will often swell rapidly and be extremely painful for the dog. Systemic signs associated with venom acts on different timetables, from minutes to hours.

Symptoms of snake bites on dogs include:

  • swelling
  • shock
  • lethargy
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • muscle tremors
  • neurological difficulties, like trouble breathing
  • Article continues below

    Our Featured Programs

    See how we’re making a difference for People, Pets, and the Planet and how you can get involved!

    Identify the Snake

    If you’re in the area when your dog is bit, try to get a good look at the snake. Knowing what species of snake bit your beloved friend might just save their life.

    Get To The Vet

    You MUST seek veterinary assistance as soon as you realize your dog has been bitten. Restrict their movement as much as possible and loosely immobilize the limb if they’ve been bitten on a paw or leg. Keep them as calm and comfortable as possible on the trip over.

    Photo: GoFundMe

    How To Treat Snake Bites on Dogs

    The vet will determine what the best course of treatment is for your dog. Antihistamines, IV fluids, NSAIDs, corticosteroids, and antivenin are some of the treatment options available to your vet.

    Important Don’ts

  • Don’t cut the wound hoping it will drain the venom.
  • Don’t attempt to suck out the venom.
  • Don’t apply a tourniquet.
  • Don’t apply ice to the area.
  • Photo: Pixabay

    Follow Up

    Even if your dog isn’t showing any serious signs at the moment, it’s important to closely monitor them for adverse reactions for at least 12 hours. If there are clinical signs, the observation window goes up to 48 to 72 hours.


    Follow the steps above to identify and treat snake bites on dogs. Knowing what to do in case of emergency can help save your pet’s life.

    Help Rescue Animals

    Provide food and vital supplies to shelter pets at The Animal Rescue Site for free!