How to tell if your dog has been bitten by a snake

Dog on Trail in Snowmass Wilderness
Dog on Trail in Snowmass Wilderness / Mountain Light Photography/GettyImages

Now that summer is here, taking your dog for a walk or a hike is likely on the agenda, even more than it is during the colder months of the year. But much like there are hidden dangers during the winter, such as ice and rock salt, there are plenty of things we need to watch out for during the summer as well.

With temperatures increasing, heading out into nature with your dog makes perfect sense. But did you know that your dog is at risk of getting bitten by a snake? While it may not seem like the most common thing to have happen, according to a press email we received on behalf of LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, "between April and October, venomous snakes are notably more active, increasing the risk of snake bites, especially for our curious pets."

And with this increase in risk, it becomes even more important to be paying attention to our dogs, both on walks and hikes, and once you get home from those adventures in the wild. There are signs and symptoms that pet parents should be aware of just in case the worse happens.

So how can you tell if your dog gets a snake bite? What should you be on the lookout for?

Signs of a snake bite in dogs

  • Pupils that are dilated
  • Blood oozing from a puncture wound
  • A "sudden yelp of pain, especially if your dog is playing in a potentially infested area."
  • Puncture marks that are spaced as if from fangs
  • Swelling of the face or legs that happens rapidly
  • Redness and swelling
  • Obvious pain and discomfort
  • Breathing that is rapid
  • Gums that are pale
  • Weakness
  • Excessive drooling
  • If they collapse
  • Sudden paralysis

All of these are things that indicate a venomous snake bite and especially if you notice multiple symptoms from the list. While rapid breathing might just be from increased activity, if you notice that your dog is breathing rapidly, while also having pale gums and dilated pupils, it may be a sign of something bad, such as a snake bite.

Paying attention to your surroundings and what your dog is getting up to is extremely important this summer. And if you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it may be time to get your pup to the vet.

The summer might be a great time to explore nature with your dog, but it is also important to be safe and pay attention to where exactly you are and what your pup can get into. Quick medical intervention can make all the difference in keeping your dog healthy and happy during the warmer months of the year.

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