Dogs are curious creatures, and their natural curiosity can sometimes get them into trouble. One potential danger for dogs is snake bites. While not all snakes are venomous, those that are can cause serious harm to your dog if ingested. It is important to be able to recognise the symptoms of snake bites in dogs so that you can provide proper first aid.
Types of snake bites
Snakes are found in a variety of environments all over the world, and there are many different types of snakes. Some snakes are venomous, while others are not. So, what's the difference between a venomous snake bite and a non-venomous snake bite?
Venomous snake bite
Venomous bites are serious business. If you are ever unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of one, it's important to seek medical help immediately. Snake venom is designed to stun, numb or kill other animals, and can cause serious harm to humans. In Australia, there are about 2 deaths each year from venomous snake bites, so it's vital to be aware of the risks.
- Severe pain around the bite — this might come on later
- Swelling, bruising or bleeding from the bite
- Bite marks on the skin — these might be obvious puncture wounds or almost invisible small scratches
- Swollen and tender glands in the armpit or groin of the limb that has been bitten
- Tingling, stinging, burning or abnormal feelings around the skin
- Feeling anxious
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Breathing difficulties
- Problems swallowing
- Stomach pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Muscle weakness
- blood oozing from the gums or the site of the snake bite
- Paralysis, coma or even death
Non-venomous snake bite
Although most snake bites are not venomous, they can still be extremely painful and may cause swelling and redness around the area of the bite. In Australia, many snake bites do not result in venom entering the body (known as envenomation) and so they can be managed without antivenom. However, it is still important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a snake bite as some non-venomous bites can become infected.
- Swelling or bruising around the bite
- Possible visible puncture wounds
- Bleeding from the wound
- Pain and infection may occur after a time
Signs that a snake has bitten your dog
When most people think of snakes, they envision a venomous creature that can kill with a single bite. While there are certainly many snakes that fit this description, not all snakes are dangerous to pets. In fact, most snake bites will not result in serious harm, provided that the victim receives prompt medical attention. That being said, there are several factors that will determine the severity of a snake bite. The type of snake is perhaps the most important factor, as some species of snake are more venomous than others. The amount of venom injected is also important, as this will depend on the size and maturity of the snake.
There's something about the beginning of summer that makes snakes more potent. Their venom glands can hold an extra dose and they're also in better shape because it hasn't been long since their last strike, so be careful.
The symptoms of a snake bite depend on the type of snake, but some common signs are:
- Sudden weakness followed by collapse.
- Shaking or twitching of the muscles.
- Dilated pupils not responsive to light.
- Blood in the urine.
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- In the later stages paralysis may occur.
First Aid Tip for Snake Bites
If your dog has been bitten by a snake, it is important to act quickly and seek professional medical help. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to provide first aid.
- Keep calm and call for help
If you see your dog has been bitten by a snake, it is important to remain calm. Immediately call for help from a veterinarian or animal hospital.
- Do not try to suck out the venom
It is a common misconception that you should try to suck out the venom from a snake bite. This is actually not helpful and can even be dangerous.
- Do not cut the wound
Another common misconception is that you should cut the wound in order to release the venom. This is also not helpful and can cause further damage.
- Do not apply a tourniquet
Applying a tourniquet may seem like it would help to stop the spread of venom, but it can actually do more harm than good. A tourniquet can cut off circulation and cause tissue damage.
- Keep the wound below the level of the heart
This will help to slow down the spread of venom through the body.
- Apply cool compresses to the wound
This will help to reduce swelling and pain. Do not use ice, as this can cause further tissue damage.
- Transport your dog to the vet immediately
It is important to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible so that they can receive proper treatment. If possible, bring along any information about the snake, such as what kind it was or where you were when the bite occurred.
- Stay calm and keep your dog calm
It is important to remain calm during this situation so that you can think clearly and take action quickly and effectively
Treatment of snake bite in dogs
Depending on the type of snake and the severity of the bite, treatment may vary.
For non-venomous bites, the wound will be cleaned and your dog may be prescribed antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and antihistamines.
If the bite is determined to be venomous, the first step will be to determine if antivenom is required. If so, the antivenom will be administered and the bite site will be located, marked and cleaned. The remaining course of treatment will depend upon the severity of the bite, your dog's clinical signs, and the type of snake that caused the condition.
How to keep your pet safe from snake bites
- Keep your pet away from areas where snakes are known to live.
If you live in an area where snakes are common, it's important to keep your pet away from areas where they are known to live. This includes tall grass, dense brush, and rocky outcrops. If you're hiking in an area where snakes are known to live, keep your pet on a leash and be sure to stay on well-traveled trails.
- Avoid letting your pet roam off leash in areas where snakes are known to live.
Even if you're familiar with an area, it's best to avoid letting your pet roam off leash in areas where snakes are known to live. Snakes can be difficult to see, and your pet may not be able to avoid them if they're not on a leash.
- Be aware of the signs that your pet has been bitten by a snake.
If you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a snake, it's important to be aware of the signs. These include swelling at the site of the bite, pain, bleeding, and difficulty breathing. If you think your pet has been bitten by a snake, seek medical attention immediately.
- Use Snake Repellers
Even the most well-trained dog can be vulnerable to snake bites, which is why it's important to take steps to protect your pet. One way to do this is to use a snake repeller. EnviroBug offers some of the most effective snake repellers on the market, which use solar power to emit vibrations that keep snakes away. The repellers are also silent, so they won't disturb you or your dog while in use. With EnviroBug, you can have peace of mind knowing that your pet is safe from snake bites.
It is important to be able to identify if your dog has been bitten by a snake, as well as the type of snake bite. There are different symptoms for venomous and non-venomous bites. If you think your dog has been bitten, it is important to seek professional medical help immediately and administer first aid if necessary. Remembering these tips could help save your dog's life.
The side effects of a dog getting bitten by a snake can vary depending on the type of snake. Some symptoms may include swelling, pain, bleeding, and difficulty breathing. If your pet is bitten by a snake, it is important to seek professional medical help immediately.
After a person is bitten by a venomous snake, they will usually experience severe burning pain at the bite site within 15 to 30 minutes. This pain can then progress to swelling and bruising at the wound site, up the arm or leg. In some cases, the person may also experience difficulty breathing, paralysis, and even death.