It is best to keep your dog on leash while hiking or walking in the foothills. This can prevent an unpleasant rattlesnake encounter.
Prevention is key here: rattlesnakes are an essential part of the Colorado ecosystem so it is extremely important to learn how to keep yourself and your pets safe while letting the snake be happy and healthy in its natural habitat.
Accidents do happen, so here’s what to look for while inspecting your dog for a rattlesnake bite and what to do if it gets bitten!
Signs that your dog was bitten by a rattlesnake:
- uncomfortable breathing
- whimpering in pain
- tired behavior
- swollen bleeding puncture wounds
If your pup gets bitten:
- move to a safe place
- immediately transport your dog to a veterinary medical facility
- if possible, carry your pet to reduce activity and the overall effect of venom
- call ahead and ensure the veterinarian is prepared to handle a snakebite emergency
- if the vet is not prepared, ask for a recommendation
- handle the snake
- treat the bite yourself and sucking the venom out
- use a tourniquet as this can make the bite worse
Though we are lucky to be living near wildlife, it can be scary and unpredictable to come into contact with animals, especially rattlesnakes. It can also feel extremely devastating to watch your beloved dog get hurt.
Remember to breathe, to be proactive rather than reactive. Keep your dog on a leash. Stay safe and enjoy nature!