How to Keep Your Dog Safe from Snakes | Safe Bones Co.
Keep Your Dog Safe From Snakes

How to Keep Your Dog Safe from Snakes

Are you and your pup taking advantage of every last hike fall has to offer? (We hope so...it’s good for you!)

As winter heads our way, those brisk autumn walks and hikes just can’t be beat, and our guess is, you’re out there enjoying them, too. Keep in mind, though, as temperatures drop, snakes are also preparing for hibernation, or brumation.

Snake’s bodies aren’t capable of regulating temperatures on their own, which means many of them become inactive during the winter. Along with other species of reptiles, snakes gear up for hibernation by strategically feeding so their bodies have enough nutrients to survive the cold weather.

During fall months, especially toward the end, you can expect snakes to be actively feeding. Even during the winter, however, it’s important to be aware of snakes and their dens to avoid ending up near one; these reptiles can still defend themselves from threats, even during their inactive months.

The Danger of Snake Bites for Your Dog

Fortunately, most snakes you and your dog might come across aren’t venomous; there are far more non-venomous snakes in the wild. That being said, the risk of coming into contact with a rattlesnake, copperhead, or other type of poisonous snake that’s common in your area still exists. Plus, even a bite from a non-venomous snake is painful and at risk of infection - especially for your dog.

It’s important to be aware of any snake threats - at home and in the wild - in order to protect your pup. If bitten, they won’t be able to tell you what’s happened, and there’s a chance you’ll never know unless you’re aware of what to look out for.

Follow these suggestions on how to keep your dog safe from snakes, and what to do if they’re bitten.

Common Snake Hiding Places

Snakes carry a bad wrap; they can be scary when you come across one out of the blue. However, in reality, snakes are equally, if not more scared of you than you are of them. The very best thing you can do to avoid snakes is exactly that - if you see one while you’re out hiking or playing fetch with your dog in the backyard, completely avoid it. Don’t try to get a closer look, and keep your dog restrained (they’ll likely want to approach the snake).

To avoid coming into contact with one while out walking or hiking, be on the lookout for large piles of leaves or brush. Steer clear of rodent holes, caves, and rocky areas; these are all common places to find hidden snakes.

Be sure to keep your dog on a leash when out hiking, especially when snakes are prepping for hibernation. Your pup might not think anything about scrambling up a rocky surface, but a snake won’t be too happy about 4 big paws coming its way.

If you hate the idea of putting your dog on a leash while hiking, at the very least, make sure they’re capable of following directions. When you tell them to “come” or “drop it,” there should be no hesitation whatsoever.

Remember, dogs are curious, and they’ll do whatever they can to protect you. Whether they’re simply sniffing out a fellow creature, or they think you’re in a dangerous situation, there’s a good chance they’ll quickly approach (and possibly attack) a snake if given the chance.

Avoiding Snakes in the Backyard

Even if you’re not planning on hiking anytime soon, be mindful of whether or not your backyard is prone to snakes, too. If you live in an area where they’re common, always stay on top of yard duties.

Keep your backyard clear of:

  • Wood piles

  • Brush, leaves, and debris

  • Long grass or bushes

  • Food or birdseed

  • Rodents

  • Holes

By doing so, you’ll be able to keep most shelter-seeking snakes clear of your dog’s fenced area. If you’re still worried about one making it’s way into the yard, consider putting up mesh fencing to keep snakes out.

Another excellent tip is to find a dog trainer familiar with snake aversion training. Especially if you’re living in a snake-common area, teaching your dog to avoid snakes rather than approach them can be the difference between life and death.

What to Do If Your Dog Is Bitten

No matter what kind of snake you think might have bitten your dog, head straight to the vet. Even if the snake isn’t venomous, a bite on your dog can easily become infected and should be looked at by a professional as soon as possible.

If you’re not sure whether or not your dog was bitten, be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Weakness

  • Shaking

  • Panting

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

  • Vomiting

  • Dilated pupils

  • Difficulty moving or walking

  • Excessive drooling

  • Abnormal breathing

Any of these symptoms should warrant an immediate trip to the vet. Your dog can’t tell you when it’s been bitten, so be vigilant anytime you’re out hiking or walking where snakes could be present.

How to React to a Bite

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, or if you see them get bitten, the first thing to do is move away from the snake. Don’t try to harm or kill the snake, which is likely to provoke it even further. Instead, put a generous distance between yourself and the reptile.

If it’s safely possible, snap a quick picture of the snake to help your vet decide on proper treatment. However, again, safety is the priority here. If your dog is showing immediate symptoms or you’re still in dangerous proximity to the snake, forgo the picture and simply head to the vet.

Despite what you see in the movies, you should never try treating the bite on your own. Do not try to remove venom or apply a tourniquet, for example, which can cause much more harm than good. If you can, carry your dog to the car, call the vet to alert them of your arrival, and head straight there.

Lastly, remain as calm as you possibly can. If a bite happens, it most likely won’t do any lasting harm. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pup, so stay calm, head to the vet, and let them handle the rest.

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