Your dog is a curious creature who loves to sniff out new experiences and friends. Unfortunately, that curious nature can get your pooch into trouble if he encounters a poisonous snake. Because your dog has a natural fur coat, snakebites are not always visible, but other symptoms may provide a good indication that your dog has received a bite.
Visible Bite Signs
If your dog receives a snakebite, the likely site will be the head, neck or limbs. You may notice your dog trying to lick the area, as it produces pain and blood. If the snake was poisonous, look for fang marks. A full bite will show two close punctures, though a single puncture is possible if the snake was unable to get a direct strike. Because snakes will attack multiple times, more than two puncture marks may occur. You may also notice redness, swelling and tenderness at the bite location. Non-poisonous snakes do not have fangs, but small teeth marks may be present.
Other Possible Symptoms
Aside from bite marks, look for symptoms such as drooling, incontinence, fainting, confusion, muscle tremors, seizures, paralysis, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and a reduced heart rate. These are all signs the venom may be circulating in the blood stream. If you find a snakebite or your dog is showing these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Keep your dog as calm and still as possible, as this helps slow the spread of venom. If you live in an area prone to rattlesnakes, talk to your vet about rattlesnake vaccines. These vaccines slow the spread of venom and reduce the severity.