Ah the great outdoors! How wonderful it is to be able to explore with your pups and bond over the beauty that surrounds you both. Wait, did you hear that? Was that… a rattlesnake?! It very well might be and in fact, you may be hearing a lot more rattlesnakes this year due to the amount of rain we had this winter! More rodents like mice and gophers have been seen scurrying around these past few months and they make the perfect dinner for rattlesnakes. So, what do we do when we encounter a rattlesnake while out with our pup? Thankfully, CCLA is here to give you all the details on how to prevent an awful encounter from happening, and what to do if it does!
Signs and Symptoms that Your Pup May Have a Rattlesnake Bite:
- Puncture Wounds (may bleed)
- Pain & swelling around the area
- Panting or Drooling
- Lethargy & Weakness
- Muscle tremors
- Trouble breathing
Some of these symptoms may happen immediately or can take a few hours to occur.
Did You Know?
- Juvenile rattlesnakes have more toxic venom than adult rattlesnakes! However, experts say that even though baby venom is more toxic, adult rattlers produce more venom than juveniles. Moral of the story? Protect yourselves and your pets from all slithering rattlers, no matter what the age!
How to Prevent:
Have you heard of the Rattlesnake Vaccine?
- Red Rock Biologics has developed a vaccine for dogs that is made up by snake venom itself. Why voluntarily give your pup venom? Well, according to RRB, the vaccine is designed to create antibodies that counteract the rattlesnake venom, if ever your dog is bitten. Essentially, this vaccine has similar logic as our flu shot. However, it is important to note that, just because your pooch has been vaccinated, you still need to seek immediate medical attention, as the vaccine will only buy you a little more time until vet help is required. Furthermore, make sure your dog is in proper health before considering the vaccine. Want more information? Click here
Don’t Forget to leash Up!
- It’s important to leash your dog for many reasons. However, when hiking on hilly terrain or dry areas, it is essential to walk your pup on a 6-foot leash. Leashes like these make it easier for you to reel your pup back once you’ve heard the ominous sounds of the rattle.
Rattlesnake Aversion Classes
- Yes, it’s a thing—and they actually muzzle the snakes! Read all about rattlesnake classes in our earlier blog, “The BEST Way to Protect Your Dog From a Rattlesnake”. It’s important to note that because of dog’s short-term memory, you may want to re-visit these training classes once a year for about 3 years, in order to ensure that your pup knows how to properly detect and avoid a rattlesnake! For a full schedule of rattlesnake aversion classes all throughout California, click here.
Make sure you know where your nearest emergency vet is
- It’s important to know where they’re located as well as their contact information. Don’t forget to save the number on your phone and list it as an emergency contact!
What To Do:
Call your nearest emergency vet, immediately
- This step should be the very first thing you do. Don’t worry about scaring the snake away—it’s actually advised that you do not do so. Snakes may be inclined to strike again and you don’t want to be the next victim. Make sure you stay calm and collected as they walk you through the next steps.
Keep the wound below the heart and make your pup as relaxed as possible
- Even though everyone tells you to keep a wound elevated, the exact opposite is true for snakebites! Keeping the wound below your dog’s heart will help keep the infected blood away from his heart for a longer period of time. You can also limit infected blood flow by making sure your kiddo remains relaxed and doesn’t do any strenuous activity. Picking him up and taking him directly to the car is priority. Remember, acting fast is the number one way to save your pets life, as there are many anti-venom treatments once at the vet.
DO NOT wrap the wound
- Any type of tourniquet is absolutely prohibited as swelling to the area will occur and cause tissue death and weakened blood flow. Wrapping the wound tightly may also cause a severe low blood pressure that can even lead to death.
DO NOT attempt to suck the venom out
- While many people have said this in past years, sucking the venom out yourself, does not do anything but waste time. No one has the capacity to do so except maybe Superman.
Have you had any encounters with rattlesnakes? What did you do? What was it like? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below! And remember: Always keep your eyes and ears peeled and remain aware of your surroundings at all times!