How Do You Treat a Snake Bite on a Dog?

When you take your pets outdoors, there’s always a risk that they will encounter a snake. Puppies are especially prone to snake bites, since they’re curious and often don’t know when to leave other animals alone. If you take your dogs out in rural areas, be sure to have the phone number for your vet in Cannon Falls, MN handy. While non-venomous bites may only be painful and increase the risk of infection, venomous snakes can kill your dog in less than an hour.

Know the signs of a snake bite

Your dog is most likely to get bitten on their face or neck, especially if they try to catch the snake. A non-venomous bite often looks like two horseshoe-shaped marks, while venomous bites have other complications.

If you notice your dog having trouble breathing, drooling excessively, acting as though they’re having a seizure or vomiting, that’s a sign they’ve been bitten by a venomous snake. Look for sudden, dramatic swelling at the bite location. They may also suffer from diarrhea, paralysis and shock, sometimes resulting in a collapse.

If any of these signs of a venomous bite are present, treat it as an emergency. While some dogs are large enough (or have thick enough fur) that they won’t be as strongly affected, you shouldn’t chance it.

How to treat a snake bite

First and foremost, you’ll need to take your pet to the emergency vet right away. If it’s possible, you should bring the snake with you for identification—but don’t put yourself at risk of getting bitten, too. A cell phone photo is helpful when you can’t get the actual snake.

Rinse the wound with water or wipe with a baby wipe to remove as much venom as possible. (If you live in a snake-infested area, you might want to invest in a venom vacuum pump.)
On the way to the vet, turn up the air conditioning to slow your dog’s circulation. If possible, put an ice pack on the bite location. Keep your dog as quiet as possible, and remove their collar. Snake venom can cause their windpipe and nostrils to swell, making it hard for them to breathe.

Once you arrive at the vet, they’ll decide how to best treat your dog. They’ll most likely use antivenom—but the type and dosage depend on your dog’s size and breed and the type of snake that bit them. As long as the antivenom is administered within four to eight hours (for adult dogs), your dog should recover. However, time is of the essence, especially when a puppy is involved. Don’t delay going to the vet’s office.

As always, the best way to prevent snake bites is to keep an eye on your dogs at all times. Don’t let them off-leash unless you’ve cleared the area of brush and other hiding places for snakes.
When you need a vet in Cannon Falls, MN, reach out to Cannon Veterinary Services Ltd. We look forward to meeting you and your pet!