Dogs and Rattlesnakes

It’s officially summer which means it’s time to soak up the sun and go on adventures with your furry friend. One of the most popular summer activities to do with dogs is going on a hike. While this is a great way to get in some exercise, there are potential dangers on hiking trails that could pose a serious risk to your canine companion. For one, you and your dog may come across rattlesnakes during the summer season. 

Unfortunately, rattlesnake venom “can be fatal to dogs,” as reported by the Veterinary Specialists of the Rockies. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent your precious pooch from being bitten

1.Don’t Allow Your Dog Off-Leash 

It’s very tempting to let your pup off-leash and explore his surroundings. After all, dogs want nothing more than to sniff every single tree and bush they see. That being said, dogs aren’t the best at being aware of their surroundings and probably won’t realize that a rattlesnake is in their close proximity until it is too late. For this reason, you should always have a tight grip on your furry friend’s leash.

2. Keep Your Cool If You See A Rattlesnake

If you realize that there is a rattlesnake close to you, proceed with caution. You don’t want to act erratically, as it may agitate your dog, which in turn may irritate the snake, increasing its chances of biting. It’s best to take a different path and calmly walk away from the rattlesnake.  

3. See if Rattlesnake Vaccinations Are Right For Your Dog 

There are rattlesnake vaccinations available for dogs who are at least four months old. According to Methow Valley Veterinary Hospital, a “dog should get at least two doses about 30 days apart in the initial vaccination sequence.” Consult your vet to see if getting your dog a rattlesnake vaccination would be the best course of action.  

If your dog does end up getting bitten by a rattlesnake while out on the trail, get in contact with an emergency veterinarian clinic right away. Once you detail exactly what happened, take your dog to said clinic as soon as possible. According to the Veterinary Specialists of the Rockies, your dog may have to stay overnight, and “based on the veterinarian’s assessment of severity, bloodwork results, and suspected type of snake, antivenom may be administered.”


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