You may be surprised to learn that rattlesnakes actually live across the Americas from southern Canada all the way to central Argentina. Most people think of deserts and the American Southwest when they think of the distinct sound of a rattlesnake. That’s probably due to old western movies with John Wayne and the other cowboys.
But the fact is that you can run into a rattlesnake anywhere in the United States, so it’s important to know what to do if your dog encounters one in Glendale, AZ.
The Dangers of Rattlesnakes for Dogs in Glendale, AZ
All snake bites are dangerous for dogs, but snakes with venom are even more dangerous. Rattlesnakes are venomous and the venom penetrates the bloodstream quickly, making a bite life threatening.
When taking your dog somewhere to go camping or hiking such as Deems Hill, take the time to look up the closest veterinary clinic including one with an after hours or emergency team.
That way, if your dog does get bit while you’re out, you won’t have to waste time searching the internet for somewhere to go.
Keep Your Dog on a Leash
While out with your dog in the wilderness, you should try and keep them on a leash. Of course, it’s fun to watch them run around and have a grand ole time, but it’s the best way to avoid any sort of snake bite. If your dog does get bitten there are some do’s and don’ts that you should follow.
The first is that you should never try and scare a snake away. If the rattlesnake has struck at your dog once, it could strike again at your dog or even at you.
Don’t put your own self in danger, but get you and your pup out of the area and situation at once. Snakes have a large strike range and can still reach you even from several feet away.
What to Do When a Rattlesnake Bites Your Dog
Next, you need to immediately call the vet. If you were out camping or hiking, that means calling the local one that you already pre-researched. If you’re at home and your dog was bit in your backyard, call your regular vet and take your pup in immediately.
You will want to let them know what happened so that they can be prepared with the necessary medicine as soon as you arrive. The fact of the matter is that the only way to help your dog is getting them straight to a vet. There is no home remedy for a rattlesnake bite and time is of the essence.
What Not to Do When a Rattlesnake Bites Your Dog
A common belief of pet owners think is that a tourniquet will help. However, this is absolutely not true. A tourniquet is simply a compressing bandage on a wound.
The issue with rattlesnake bites is not the blood leaving the body, but the poison entering the blood stream. A tourniquet often leads to additional tissue death because the venom is constricted to one area.
Rattlesnake venom is actually hemotoxic which means that it prevents a bite wound from clotting as a normal bite or wound would. Usually because an owner sees that the bleeding won’t stop, they think to wrap the wound tightly. Again, do not do this. It will only lead to tissue death and further complications.
Some people have watched one too many movie or television show, and think that sucking the venom out of a bite is a realistic way to save either a human or a pet.
Unfortunately, that’s not how this works. This is essentially the same as trying to dump water out of a boat that’s covered in holes. It’s not going to help and is a waste of time. Just focus on getting your dog to the vet.
Lower the Wound Below Heart-Level
Finally, it is a good idea to keep the wound lower than heart-level. Elevating an injury or a wound usually is the right thing to do, but not for snake bites.
You need to keep the blood flow to the heart as slow as possible to prevent the poison from reaching it. If you have your dog keep his paw down or his rump, it can help reduce the spread of poison and will give you more time to get to the vet.
Rattlesnake Bite Symptoms to Look Out For
If your dog was not on a leash but you can tell something is wrong, there are some symptoms to look for to confirm they were bitten. The most important are bite marks.
If your pup has a lot of fur, it could take a few minutes to figure out if there’s bleeding and where it’s coming from. There will also be swelling and bruising around the bite marks. Your dog’s breath will slow and become ragged and short and they will whimper in pain.
Lastly, you will likely see lethargic behavior or trembling. Once you confirm that you see bite marks, call the vet and bring them in. Even if it wasn’t a poisonous snake bite like with a rattlesnake, you want to air on the side of caution in this situation.
Rattlesnakes and Your Dog: Stay Alert in Glendale, AZ
Overall, the most important takeaway is to be aware of you and your dog’s surroundings when you’re outdoors and especially in areas that are known to be inhabited by rattlesnakes, especially in Glendale, AZ.
Some veterinarians in Glendale, Arizona carry a rattlesnake vaccine that may provide some level of protection if your pet were to be bitten. However, to be safest, we still recommend your pet be taken to a veterinary facility right away if you know or suspect they have been bitten by a rattlesnake even if they have received the rattlesnake vaccine series and it’s been kept up to date.
Take the extra time if you’re more than 2 hours from your vet to locate an emergency one should any incident happen while you’re out.
Immediately take your dog to the vet if they’ve bitten by any snake. There should be no delay in getting them medical treatment that could save their life. The longer you wait, the more likely additional health complications will occur.
Stetson Hills Animal Hospital has been serving Glendale, AZ pet owners with exceptional care since 2015 and we’re here when you need us.