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Dog vs Snake – Not A Healthy Relationship!

Do you know if you live in an area rife with snakes nearby? You are strongly advised to check with the local Vet if you don’t know.

As the weather heats up towards the summer months and the days get longer there are a number of things that pet owners should be thinking about to keep their pets safe over summer. The main one being snakes.

In Australia, there are 170 species of land snakes, some equipped with venom more toxic than any other snakes in the world.

Some of the most venomous snakes in Australia are actually very shy, such as the Inland and Coastal Taipans,

Inland Taipan

Inland Taipan

while some of the more aggressive snakes, such as the Eastern and Western Brown,

Brown Snake

Brown Snake

are still dangerous because of their bad tempers, but less venomous.

Every year in Australia, over six thousand pets are bitten by a snake. Normally, snakes will go out of their way to avoid you, and if you spot one, it’s best to lead your dog or cat away if you can.

However, dogs and cats are usually curious by nature. A lot also have natural hunting instincts that will cause them to go after a snake rather than avoid it. That is why it is best to take precautions to stop you having to pull your pet away from a snake in the first place.

When you’re in the park during snake season – especially if it’s near water or a good food source, keep your dog on the lead so you can control them. At home, keep your garden areas tidy by clearing undergrowth, filling in holes, mowing the lawn and clearing away all the toys and tools that make great hiding places for snakes. It’s also a good idea to store firewood away from the house. If you’ve got a food source that attracts rodents, it will also attract snakes, so clean up any spilled food or uneaten pet food.

If your pet does get bitten, try and keep them as still as possible and get them to a vet as quickly as you can. The sooner they are treated with anti-venom, the more likely they are to survive. Do not try and capture the snake or kill it, but do try to remember what the snake looks like if you see it as this can help your veterinarian a lot in treating your pet.  For further information on this, check out RSPCA website.

However, snakes can vary in pattern and color a lot – so much so that sometimes even experienced handlers have trouble being sure what type of snake they’re looking at. So don’t put yourself or anyone else at risk trying to get a better look at a snake. It’s more important to get your pet in front of a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Of course, your pet may come across a snake when you’re not there, so it’s important to know how to recognize if your pet has been bitten. Snake venom can cause your pet to vomit, shake or be suddenly weak. It can also initially present as something as apparently minor as dilated pupils. If at any stage during summer you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, if they start behave strangely or appear unwell, it’s important to have them checked for a snakebite right away.

Don’t think of this as an overreaction. Snake bite injuries in cats and dogs are surprisingly common in Australia, whether you live in the inner city, in the suburbs or out in the bush. If you are in doubt, it is always better to get your pet checked.

If you think they have been bitten, get them to a vet as quickly as possible because time is of the essence. Your vet will run a test that can determine if it is a snakebite right away and it is better to be safe than sorry.

One important last thing. It would be very wise to get to know your local snakes – forewarned is forearmed!

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