What to do if a snake bites my dog?



Monday, 07/03/2017 | Updated 04/07/2017 - 17:02

Vipers are more dangerous between the months of March and November.

In summer, snake bites to pets are the order of the day: dogs and cats that are in contact with nature often find these little snakes curious. But if they approach them and they bite them, they can die relatively quickly. In the summer, it is common to find rough vipers in the Pyrenees, mainly in the hottest areas, such as rocks and gardens. In addition, it is also common to see them in golf courses. The specimens that can be found in the Peninsula are usually small, but very aggressive.

Vipers are more dangerous between the months of March and November, when it is cool and they look for places to sunbathe. That is when their movements are slower and they can bite when they are cornered without being able to flee. "They don't attack 'per se'. They immediately detect the man, the dog or the predator, and hide & rdquor ,, clarifies the veterinarian Mireia Casamitjana. This professional of Puigcerdà (Cerdanya) explains that your center can get to try 15 cases of viper bite per year. It is rare for dogs to die because of these reptiles: Casamitja estimates that he does not reach an annual death for this cause.


The vet Miquel Janer ensures that the first six hours They are vital to prevent the accident from being irreversible. First, you have to detect where the bite has occurred. The most normal is that the area becomes inflamed and a bruise comes out.

It is important that the dog is calm. Avoid moving a lot to avoid possible rapid blood circulation, which distributes the blood - and with it, the poison - All over the body. If the pet is small, it is better to take it with you. The veterinarians consulted do not recommend doing tourniquets in the affected area.

The owner can give the dog corticosteroids, or take him to the nearest veterinarian to apply corticosteroids in bulk to avoid initial shock. "The snake injects a cocktail of toxins that depends on its size and the amount of venom that the snake has stored & rdquor," Casamitjana explains. Therefore, he assures that it is difficult to make an initial prognosis when a victim arrives from a snake bite.


Many times, the owner is not present at the time of the attack, so it is necessary to know and be aware of symptoms such as swelling of an area, decay of the animal or agitated breathing.

Be that as it may, the animals must be under observation for a whole week, because even the symptoms of blood clotting They can leave days later.

How to differentiate poisonous and non-venomous snakes?

When a dog finds a snake it can try to hunt it or catch it, in this case the snake will try to defend itself and attack the face or neck of the animal. If, on the contrary, the dog has accidentally stepped on it, it may bite it in the legs and ventral area.

Recognize a poisonous snake It is essential to know what will be the first aid to apply, we explain how to do it below:

  • Snakes: the snakes can become very large, reaching the meter in length, and have round pupils, small teeth and large scales on the head. They do not possess poison, although first aid techniques must also be applied.
  • Vipers: Unlike snakes, vipers have smaller scales on the head, are smaller and show elongated pupils, like cats. In addition the fangs are noticeably longer. Yes they are poisonous.

Symptoms of a snake bite in dogs

If you are not sure of the type of snake that has bitten your dog or if it has really been a snake that has bitten your dog, the symptoms it presents will help you know.

Symptoms of a NOT poisonous sting:

  • The bite is "U" shaped.
  • The dog does not show serious signs of pain, even if we manipulate the area.
  • The bite is practically superficial.
  • Non-venomous snakes are generally diurnal.

Symptoms of a poisonous sting:

  • The bite shows two fangs.
  • The dog shows acute pain, especially if we manipulate the wound, being able to react defensively.
  • Accumulation of fluid in the wound, forming an edema.
  • Capillary lesions due to rupture of the capillaries.
  • Small hemorrhages
  • Vomiting, diarrhea and tachycardia.
  • The dog does not accept food or drink and prefers to lie down.
  • The area begins to paralyze and lose sensitivity.
  • Poisonous snakes are usually nocturnal and crepuscular.

Symptoms when a snake bites your dog

Sometimes you may realize that this has happened and sometimes you may not notice it. Therefore, the first thing to learn is to identify what the symptoms are:

  • Lethargy and disorientation
  • Tachycardia
  • Bite marks
  • Inflammation
  • Excess saliva
  • Spasms

These symptoms usually appear a few seconds after the bite., so you must act quickly. What should you do then if a snake bites your dog?

How to treat a snake bite in dogs

Below we explain the step by step you should follow if your dog is bitten a snake NOT poisonous:

  1. Contact your trusted veterinarian to explain your case.
  2. Shave the hair from the bite with a dog shaver, but if you don't have one, use one for human use.
  3. Clean the wound with soap diluted in water gently.
  4. Cover the wound with a dressing or gauze that you will fix with adhesive tape.
  5. Observe the symptoms that the dog shows for 3 or 4 hours.

The next thing you should do is go to the veterinarian, who will probably prescribe antibiotics and, in some cases, the application of the tetanus vaccine may be necessary.

The protocol will vary if it is a poisonous snake:

  1. Reassure your dog by asking him to lie down while you make him calm.
  2. Contact the veterinarian and explain the situation to know what steps to follow.
  3. Shave your dog's hair with a razor if possible, except if the sound of the machine alters it excessively.
  4. Clean the wound with soap diluted in water.
  5. Avoid drinking or offering medication of any kind, except if the veterinarian has recommended it.
  6. Go to the vet.

Remember that a venomous snake bite can kill your dog, which should receive an antitoxin to avoid the reactions of the poison. Only if the veterinarian is very far away, we recommend doing a tourniquet:

    If possible, make a little tight tourniquet with the help of a bandage above the tool>

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to What to do if a snake bites my dog?, we recommend that you enter our First Aid section.

When a snake bites your dog

Follow these tips:

  • Keep calm. If the animal sees you nervous, he will be too and that will not help either of you. You will have difficulty with your nerves to do something for the animal and he will not let you touch it.
  • Find the bite>

What you must not do

Do not go beyond these tips. There are things you should not do, As much as you've seen it in movies or others have advised you. These are some actions you should not do:

  • Turnstiles. Do not do them because you could harm your animal. Only veterinarians and specialists are trained to carry out this maneuver in animals.
  • No suction. This will not help your animal at all and even you could put yourself in danger.

Depending on the country in which you live there will be various types of snakes, some of which are not poisonous. In the event that the bite is from a non-venomous snake, the dog will only feel pain.

In this case, the precautions are minor, but a visit to the veterinarian will never hurt. Anyway, the best thing is that you are prepared and that you can act quickly to save the life of your pet.

Are rattlesnake bites dangerous?

Just in the 30% of rattlesnake bites are injected with poison and approximately 10% of cases of bites are fatal for the quantity and quality of liquids in the human blood system.

Rattlesnakes are dangerous if they bite in the snout of animals, because their victims are usually horses and cows that inject them with poison in the face that causes them significant swelling that prevents them from breathing causing death by suffocation.

The Rattlesnake venom is considered as hemototoxic as contact with blood causes an effect of destruction of red blood cells, a serious problem that can cause the tissue to become gangrene and need limb removal.