How To Save Your Dog From a Rattlesnake Bite

A lot of us take our dogs hiking and backpacking and if you happen to live in the southwest, that means taking your pooch into rattlesnake country. Unlike humans, dogs hear that rattling sound and become even more curious. And since they always lead with their noses, there's a good chance your dog will take some snake venom to the face.

Getting a rattlesnake bite in the face is the worst place to get one, but it's almost always where dogs get them. The swelling can cause your dog to have difficulty breathing which needs to be addressed immediately.

5 Steps To Save Your Dog From a Rattlesnake Bite

1. Avoidance

The best thing you can do for a rattler bite is to not get bitten at all. Most dog owners suggest that you keep your dog on a 6-foot-leash so you can just tug your pup out of harm's way. You could also sign them up for Rattlesnake class which teaches them to steer clear. Here is what NOT to do.

2. Benedryl 

If your first aid kit doesn't have Benedryl in it, make a note to throw some in there now. Antihistamines can save your dog's life by reducing the amount of swelling in their face. This will allow them to continue breathing until you get to the vet.

3. Do Not Suck Out Venom

Despite what you've seen on TV, sucking the venom out of a snake bite with your mouth won't work. In fact, it'll make it worse. Not only will you look silly sucking on your dog's face, but your dirty mouth could also be infecting the wound.

4. Pain Meds

If your dog is in pain you can give him over the counter pain meds which should also be in your first aid bag. Simply put the pills in something yummy to eat and let them gobble it up.

5. Go to The Vet

If you have a small dog, pick them up, get to your car, and drive to the vet. If you can't pick up your dog, head back at a slow and steady pace. The vet will more than likely administer antivenom for the bite and antibiotics for the infection.

Some vets say that with a rattlesnake vaccine, you can avoid a vet trip altogether. Especially if the vaccine was given within 30 days of the bite.

Summary:

  • Add pain meds and Benedryl to your first aid kit.
  • Keep your dog on a leash or take a snake avoidance class.
  • Get to your vet.
  • Get the antivenom.
  • Consider getting a vaccine.

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