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Rattlesnake Tips That Can Help Keep Your Pet Safe

Welcome to spring, fellow pet owners! Let’s talk about something important: Rattlesnakes and your pets. In some parts of the country, spring means rattlesnakes because they become more active in warmer seasons, from spring to autumn. They are found in wetlands, deserts and forests. If you take walks or hikes with your pet, these tips can help arm you with knowledge to keep your dog safe during this time of the year.

Rattlesnakes are incredibly dangerous, especially to the curious dog. Dogs are bitten by rattlers every year and their venom can kill a dog in a matter of a few short hours. The treatment for a rattlesnake bite is intensive, expensive, risky, and is no guarantee a bitten pet will survive. Read more for tips to prevent a fatal rattlesnake bite, and what to do if your dog is bitten.

Here are a few tips to help keep your dog safe:

  • Talk to your veterinarian about the rattlesnake vaccine. According to Red Rock Biologics, “Rattlesnake bite is a veterinary emergency that results in serious injury or even death to thousands of dogs and horses each year. Rattlesnake venom is a complex mixture of toxins that spreads through an animal’s body following the bite. Red Rock has developed vaccines to defend both dogs and horses from the dangerous effects of rattlesnake venom. That’s rattlesnake protection that will put you and your animals at ease.” 
  • Snake avoidance training. Purchase a realistic plastic snake. If possible, put it in a tank with a friend’s pet snake for a few days so it acquires the scent of a snake. Drop the toy snake on the floor and walk your leashed dog by it. As you approach the snake, command firmly, “Leave It!” If your dog turns away from the snake and looks to you for a treat, praise and reward the dog.

Training alone isn’t enough to prevent a bite—remember these important things:

  • Try to avoid grassy areas.
  • Keep your dog safe by keeping him on the leash.
  • Make sure you know where the nearest emergency vet clinic that stocks rattlesnake antivenin is located whenever you go hiking or camping.
  • If you see a rattlesnake, don’t try to approach or kill it. Alter your own course to avoid the rattlesnake, and never encourage a dog to attack a snake of any kind.

If your pet gets bitten by a rattlesnake, get them to a vet immediately!

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