If you’re looking to enjoy the great outdoors with your four-legged friend, you’re in luck! There are a number of dog-friendly trails throughout Arizona that you and your pup can enjoy together.

However, it is important to remember that these nature spots are home to more than just local flora. A gorgeous day can turn sour if your dog runs into one of Arizona’s venomous snakes. There are 17 species of rattlesnake in Arizona as well as vine, Lyre, and coral snakes—all of which are dangerous to you and your pooch.

Don’t panic! Snakes are no reason to avoid fun hikes with your dog altogether. Our team at Anasazi Animal Clinic is here to help educate you on avoiding dog snakebites, recognizing symptoms of snakebites in dogs, and what to do if your dog gets bit.

Signs of a Snakebite in Dogs

Snakes are good at striking fast and hiding quickly, so you may not see a snake bite your dog. While your pup may react to a snakebite right away, it may also take up to 24 hours for your dog to show symptoms. Call your vet right away if you notice:

  • Puncture wounds
  • Localized swelling or bruising
  • Trembling, shaking, or muscle spasms
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Bloody urine
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sudden weakness or collapse 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Paralysis

Your dog’s reaction to a snakebite may vary depending on the species of snake and where your pet was bitten.

Snakebite Treatment for Your Dog

If you see a snake bite your dog, or you notice symptoms of a snakebite, contact your vet immediately. Do not try to treat the bite yourself unless you are directed to do so by your veterinarian. Exercise caution with your pet since they may snap or bite due to pain or fear.

When you bring your dog to the clinic, your vet will examine them to determine the location of the wound. Snakebite dog treatment may include:

  • Cleaning the bite wound
  • Administering Benadryl to prevent an allergic reaction
  • Antibiotics for tissue injury
  • Intravenous fluid to promote rehydration
  • Antivenom to neutralize the venom
  • Steroids or anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Pain medication

Seeking snakebite treatment immediately is crucial to the health of your pet. If cared for right away, 80% of dogs survive a snakebite.

Avoiding Dog Snakebites

The best way to protect your pet is to learn how to avoid snakebite incidents. Here are a few tips for preventing dog snakebites when you’re out on the trails:

  • Keep your dog on a leash. Your pup may love to explore, but sticking their nose in rocky crevices or holes is how they find trouble. Keeping your dog on a leash 6ft long or shorter can help you stay in control and keep them out of danger.
  • Learn to identify rattlesnakes. Knowing what to look for when you’re keeping an eye out for problems can help you get your dog out of harm’s way in time. Rattlesnakes can be identified by their triangular heads, slit pupils, foldable fangs, and tail rattle.
  • Stay a safe distance away. If you see a snake, stay back and give them time to leave. Remember, even dead snakes can reflexively strike and inject venom into your pet so it is always best to keep your distance.

Wildlife locations aren’t the only places your dog can receive a snakebite. Take the following precautions to prevent your pup from getting bit at home:

  • Cut long grass and overgrowth in your yard
  • Remove rock or woodpiles from your property
  • Repair unsealed areas in your home’s foundation
  • Seal openings at ground level near steps, decks, or porches

Keep in mind that a dead snake is still a dangerous snake. Reflex bites that inject venom can still happen several hours after a snake has died. If you find a dead snake in your yard, it’s best to call a professional to remove it.

Handling wildlife is never advised. Even if your pet is bitten, do not attempt to catch the snake, just seek medical attention right away.

Emergency Vet in Gilbert, AZ

The team at Anasazi Animal Clinic is expertly trained and ready to handle whatever emergency care needs your pet may have. If your dog is in need of snakebite treatment, call our office at 480-497-0505 for urgent care services, or learn more about preventing snakebites in dogs by scheduling an appointment online.



Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash