Snake Bite on Your Dog: Symptoms and Treatment


Pups are at high threat for snake bite because they’re curious and try to play with them. Puppies that live in rural areas often encounter snakes in their outdoor expedition. When the dog is too curious, or too hardheaded, to leave a snake alone, the dog might be bitten. Nonpoisonous snake bites are painful and can trigger infection, but poisonous snake bites can kill a pup within just an hour unless you offer first help for snake bite.

Understanding Danger of Snake Bites in Dogs

Deadly snakebites are more common in dogs than in any other domestic animal. Harmful snakes are discovered in all states other than Maine, Alaska, and Hawaii. Your puppy is most at threat for snakebite if you live in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, or Texas.

Did you know that each year in the United States, over one million animal-bite injuries are reported? Dogs and cats inflict the vast bulk. On occasion, the tables get switched on our canine buddies though, and without alerting, they are recoiling from the pain inflicted by sharp, venom-injecting fangs. Captured off guard, it is a minute you will always remember if you and your dog encounter a venomous snake while just taking an enjoyable walk in the outdoors.

Signs of Snakebite

dog bit by a snake

Thick fur helps protect the dog from body injuries, and bites most often take place on the face or neck when the dog tries to catch the snake. A non-poisonous snake bite will leave small horseshoe-shaped teeth marks. The seriousness of a venomous bite depends on the size of the young puppy with the snake, the number of bites inflicted, and just how much venom is injected. Some poison affects the central nervous system and make the pup appear drunk, have seizures, or stop breathing.

There might be inflammation or bleeding, and first signs of a snakebite usually consist of agitation, excessive panting and drooling, and weak point. Throwing up, diarrhea, collapsing, seizures, shock, and in some cases paralysis (with coral snake bites), resulting in coma and potentially death might follow. The most typical indication is a severe and sudden swelling at the bite area that typically hides the bite wounds. You might mistake the swelling to be triggered by a spider bite or bug sting.

The venom from pit vipers like copperheads tarnishes the flesh within minutes because it digests the flesh. Even if the bite isn’t life-threatening, it needs immediate medical care since it can trigger irreparable damage. If you see tarnished flesh surrounding the bite mark, head to the vet’s workplace right away.

Poisonous Snakes

There are four harmful snakes endemic to the United States: copperheads, cottonmouths (water moccasins), and rattlesnakes or pit vipers. Pit vipers have slit-eyed pupils like a feline (compared to round pupils in non-poisonous snakes), pits underneath their eyes, big arrow-shaped heads, rough scales, and a pair of fangs in the upper jaw. The four types have the following attributes:

  • Rattlesnakes usually are brown or reddish with clear patterns on the back and rattles on the end of the tail.
  • Water moccasins hang out near streams or in swamps. They reach 4 to 6 feet in length and are dark brown to black. The within the mouth is white, offering the snake its name.
  • Copperhead has a red-brown coloring and an hourglass marking and distinctive copper-colored head. They reach about 2 to 4 feet in length and hangs out around leaf litter and woodpiles.
  • Its small black-nosed head recognizes the coral snake and strongly banded body colored red, yellow, white and black. Red and yellow bands are always next to each other. Coral snakes can be distinguished from king snakes (same bands of color but in a various order) by remembering this rhyme: “Red next to yellow kills a fellow.”

If you can spot the snake that bit your dog, that info will be useful to the veterinarian and might assist determine the treatment strategy.

The United States has fifteen types of rattlesnakes; 2 type of water moccasins, the copperhead and cottonmouth; and 2 type of coral snakes. The six types explained here make a good representation of the poisonous snakes present in the United States.

List of Snakes Poisonous to Dogs

Here a list of most common poisonous snakes in US often attack dogs, cats and other pets.


  • Typical adult size is 22-36 inches; has been reported to reach up to 53 inches long.
  • Range: Northern Florida up to Massachusetts, west to Texas and southeastern Nebraska.

Cottonmouth (Water Mocassin)

  • Average adult size is 20-48 inches but over 70 inches has actually been reported.
  • Range: From Florida all the method north to Virginia and west to Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.

dog bit by a poisonous snake

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

  • Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, poisonous to dogsAverage adult size is 36-72 inches; the longest reported was 96 inches.
  • Variety: All through Florida and a number of offshore islands and secrets, north to southeastern North Carolina and west to southern Mississippi and parts of Louisiana.

Timber Rattlesnake

  • Typical adult size is 36-60 inches; lumber rattlesnakes over 70 inches have been reported.
  • Variety: This is a threatened specie; its range is restricted to small areas of the eastern U.S.

Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake

  • Average adult size is 12-24 inches; the longest was taped at 31 inches.
  • Variety: Throughout Florida, eastern North Carolina and west to parts of Missouri and Texas.

Eastern Coral Snake

  • Typical adult size is 20-30 inches; some exceed 40 inches.
  • Variety: All of Florida and north to parts of North Carolina and west to eastern Texas and northeastern Mexico.

Treatment for Snake Bite on Dogs

If you think a harmful snake has bitten your dog, get to the emergency center right away. If you can do so securely, bring the snake for possible recognition. Snake bites are identified by identification of the snake, attributes of the wound, and habits of the pup. They are treated with antitoxin provided within 4 to 8 hours of the bite.

First Aid

  1. The poison can trigger shock, paralysis, or make the nostrils or windpipe swell shut. Get rid of the pup’s collar or harness so that if it’s body swells, the airways remain unrestricted. Be prepared to provide your pup rescue breathing.
  2. Keep your dog as quite as possible on the way to the vet by isolating it in a carrier. Any movement can accelerate the toxin’s spread through the blood circulation.
  3. Show up the Air Conditioner in the car to assist decrease blood circulation. Apply an ice bag directly to the wound, even a bundle of frozen veggies will work. Keep the ice on till you reach the vet’s workplace.
  4. If you can see bite marks, wash the wounds with water or a baby clean to get the venom off the dog’s body. If you live in a snake-endemic area, purchase a vacuum pump for snake bites (included in snakebite packages) that have been revealed to get rid of 30 percent of the venom when utilized immediately.

As soon as you arrive at the veterinarian’s workplace, they will examine your dog and likely reward it with antitoxin, which is a commercially made serum that neutralizes the effects of the snake venom. Some antivenin specifies the type of snake that bit the dog, so the more details you have, the veterinarian will be better able to treat your dog.

Veterinary Treatment

First of all, your veterinarian will analyze your pet, examine the medical indication they are showing and determine the very best course of action. Further diagnostic tests may be needed to figure out if your pet has been bitten and in some cases, it works to determine the type of snake using a snake bite detection kit.

Veterinary treatment varies with each particular case, how severe the symptoms are and how rapidly the symptoms develop. Treatment typically includes intravenous fluids and the administration of antivenom to neutralize the snake venom in the pet’s body. Some patients need several vials of antivenom.

Other helpful care might also be needed – including oxygen supplements and even breathing for the pet if they are not breathing well on their own. This needs to continue until the distributing antivenom has been neutralized and any bound venom has disappeared.

If your pet is given antivenene for a snakebite, it is just being utilized to neutralize the snake venom in your pet’s system at that time. It does not protect your pet in future from further envenomation from a snake. Antivenene is not a vaccination or a preventative medication.

Recovery from Snakebite

Roughly 80% of pets endure snake bite if treated fast. The survival rate is much lower however for pets that are left without treatment, and death can occur.

Recovery from a snake bite takes typically 24 to two days if the pet gets prompt veterinary attention and the snake bite is not severe. However, some pets will take considerably longer to make a full recovery due to tissue damage to internal organs and will require extensive and extended nursing care.

How to Protect Your Dog from Snake Bite?

There is no ideal method to prevent snake bites in dogs. The very best technique is to supervise your young puppy, especially in areas where snakes are present. Clear away brush and restrict the puppy to an area that you’ve looked for risks. It’s continuously much easier to avoid and prevent a disaster than to handle the aftermath.


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