Know Thy Enemy
The summer heat fosters conditions that snakes love. Dry arid conditions allow snakes to thrive, and possibly drive them into the comfort of your yard or home.
It’s also important to note that not all snakes are venomous. Rattlesnakes good rule of thumb for identifying a venomous snake is whether it has a pronounced jaw that makes the snake s head look like an arrowhead. That’s because the venom sacks are lodged in the snakes jaw which causes it to stick out. Non-Venomous snakes have round-shaped heads due to the lack of venom sacks.
You can find more information about California Rattlesnakes, with a list and photos of California Rattlesnakes at http://www.californiaherps.com/identification/snakesid/rattlesnakes.html
How to Keep Your Dog Safe during Rattlesnake Season
Keep them on a leash. Don’t let your dog roam free in an area you suspect to have snakes.
Keep them on a SHORT leash. If you’re concerned about your pup getting bit while on a walk, the best solution is to keep the dog on a short leash, not an extender leash, to keep them from potentially dangerous snake spots.
Stay on trail. If you’re out hiking, don’t wander off trail. If you’re just walking through your neighborhood, stay on the sidewalk. Snakes tend to mind their own business as long as you do, too.
Avoid big rocks or dense grass. Snakes are cold-blooded, so they are drawn to cool places like under rocks or deep in the long grass of an open field.
Snake proof your yard. Cementing your backyard fence into the ground might be too involved for you, but you can keep it clean, right? Keep your grass short and don’t leave anything that may attract rodents (aka snake bait).
If you have firewood, stack it away from your house to keep mice from housing there.
Condition your dog to come when it sees a snake.
Whenever you see that your dog sees a snake, call it to you. Reinforce the behavior with treats. Make going to investigate the snake seem like a real boring idea compared to all the love and treats you have to offer.
If you hear a rattle, don’t go that way. Or just go inside, if it’s an option. The interesting thing about rattlesnakes specifically is that they really don’t want anything to do with you.
They even have a noisemaker attached to its tail just so you know where they are and leave them alone. We suggest you oblige them.
Don’t let them play with dead snakes. It may be dead, but the venom stored in its body is as toxic as ever. If your pup accidentally chewed into the venom it would be no different than if they had been bitten.
If you and your dog encounter a rattlesnake; Calmly and slowly back away from the snake until you are no longer within striking distance which is about the snake’ s length. A good indicator that you and your pup is safely out of range is the snake will stop rattling at you. A snakes rattle is simply their burglar alarm and no one really wants to hear that. If there is one snake, there are likely to be more in that same area.
Rattlesnake bite symptoms in Dogs If you don’t recognize the symptoms of a rattlesnake bite in your dog, you might delay rushing them to the vet immediately a delay could be fatal.
Immediate Symptoms Almost Always Include:
Puncture Wounds (can be bleeding)
Restlessness, panting, or Drooling
Depending on how much venom the bite injected into your dog, and the size of your dog.
Any of these more severe symptoms may appear quickly or within a few hours:
Lethargy, Weakness, Sometimes Collapse
Neurological signs including depressed respiration
Reasons why your dog(s) should get the Rattlesnake Vaccine.
A bite from a rattlesnake is more common an occurrence than rabies and more.
When it comes to vaccinations for your dog, the rattlesnake vaccine is something that you may want to consider.
Reasons for Getting the Rattlesnake Vaccine for Your Dog
A bite from a rattlesnake is more common an occurrence than rabies and more likely to be fatal to your dog, so vaccinating him could make all the difference between life and death. Rattlesnake bites are twenty-five times more dangerous to dogs than to humans, and even if your dog survives a bite, he risks a high chance of life-time damage. Vaccinations are especially important if you live in an area where rattlesnakes are common or if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, such as heavily wooded areas. If you aren’t sure whether rattlesnakes are common in your area, do some research online.
How the Vaccine Works
The rattlesnake vaccination works by prompting your dog’s immune system to create more antibodies to help fight the venom found in the bite.
Vaccines are different than an anti-venom, which is administered after a dog has been bitten. While vaccines are preventative measures that encourage a dog’s body to create his own antibodies, anti-venom is the injection of another animal’s antibodies into your dog to help fend off the poison.
How it Protects a Dog
The vaccine uses the extra antibodies that it produces to offer quicker recovery times, less severe symptoms, the delay of any symptoms at all and to lower mortality rate.
Side Effects of Rattlesnake Vaccine
Side effects to this vaccine are considered to be especially rare and are usually mild, requiring no trip to the veterinarian to clear it up. These side effects include:
Swelling at the site of injection
These symptoms should go away within a day or two on their own or you can give your pet something to help them along, such as a warm compress for the swelling or pain medication. However, if the side effects do not go away after a couple of days or get worse, then it is important that you take your dog to see the veterinarian to ensure he is not having an adverse reaction to the vaccine.
Other Information about Rattlesnake Bites
It is important to remember that rattlesnake bites are still a very serious incident, with or without the vaccination. Even if you have your dog vaccinated, it is a good idea to take him or her to the veterinarian if he or she has been bitten by a rattlesnake.
You should also keep in mind that this vaccine, like all vaccines, may not necessarily work as well in some dogs as it does in others. There are also special circumstances that can still spell a quick fatality for your dog, such as your dog being tiny or your dog being bitten repeatedly by rattlesnakes.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this vaccine is for the rattlesnake only. It will not help protect against other snake bites and if you pet is bitten, he or she needs to see a veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible.