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How to Treat Snake Bites in Dogs

By Jo Chester | Updated September 26, 2017

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Items you will need

  • Optional

  • Strip of cloth or gauze

  • Splint

Snake bites should be treated by veterinarians. A snake bite is a serious injury, regardless of whether the offending snake is venomous or not. However, you are your dog’s first responder when a snake bite occurs. Your success in providing your dog with first aid before he is transported to the veterinarian’s office may well save his life.

Examine your dog for signs of the bite. Most dogs are bitten on the head or neck, possibly because they attempt to sniff the snake. However, a dog also can be bitten on the paws, legs or body. The bite typically will show two small puncture wounds where the fangs entered your dog’s flesh. The area surrounding the fang wounds might be tender and swollen. It also may be discolored.

Keep your dog as inactive or immobile as possible. If your pet is small, pick him up and carry him. If he was bitten in an extremity, secure it using a splint -- even just a stick -- loosely and in a natural position.

Identify the snake. Take a photograph, if possible. If you cannot photograph the snake or guess what type of snake bit your dog, make note of any identifying features that you can see. In the event that you did not see the snake, tell your veterinarian where you were hiking and in what environment your dog was bitten.

Transport your dog to the veterinarian as quickly as possible. Because of the number of variables associated with your dog succumbing to a bite, including whether the snake has bitten recently, the time of year, bite location, species of snake and the health of your dog, it is best to treat all snake bites as extreme emergencies and to seek immediate treatment.

Photo Credits

  • purplevine/iStock/Getty Images