Rattlesnakes are found throughout North America, and a bite by one of these venomous snakes can severely injure your dog or even result in death. Since dogs do not understand the danger of rattlesnakes, as an owner it is important to do what you can to help prevent your dog from encountering a rattlesnake and to know what to do if your dog is bit. Use the following rattlesnake tips to help protect your dog:
Always Walk your Dog on a Short Leash
While your dog may be well-trained enough to walk off-leash, it is in your best interest to keep your dog on a short leash during the warm spring and summer months when rattlesnakes tend to be most active. These types of snakes make a distinctive rattling sound before they intend to strike, so if you and your dog encounter a rattlesnake while outdoors you will have a better chance of removing your dog from the area if he or she is right next to you and on a short leash.
Stay Away from Areas that are Rocky or Have Tall Grass
In many cases, rattlesnakes like to hang out in areas where they are hidden, such as rocky outcroppings, or in tall grass or brush. If you are walking your dog in a wooded or desert area, it is a good idea to stay on a wide, open trail so you can easily see if there is a rattlesnake in your path.
Know the Signs of a Rattlesnake Bite
It is not uncommon for rattlesnakes to find there way into residential yards, which can put a dog at risk for a snake bite. If a bite does occur, it is important to know the signs so you can take your dog to an animal hospital as quickly as possible for treatment. When a dog is bit by a rattlesnake, you may observe puncture wounds, severe swelling, panting and drooling. Your dog may also act lethargic, and have muscle tremors, diarrhea, and seizures after a bite.
When you suspect a rattlesnake bite, it is best to carry your dog to the car if possible and restrict movement. This can help restrict the venom from spreading to other areas of your dog's body. Do not take a conservative approach after your dog is bitten by a rattlesnake-- the faster you get him or her to the animal hospital, the higher chance of survival and recovery.