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Snake bites in dogs

As we are now heading to the warmer weather its time for snakes to start moving around out of hibernation and in search of the sunny spots, so you are more likely to come across them on your dog walks

Depending on where you’re walking your dog, your pet could potentially disturb an adder. Most dogs are keen to nose around in undergrowth on walks, which can bring them into contact with adders and this can sometimes result in adder bites.

As the only venomous snakes in the UK, adders can be dangerous, but in the vast majority of cases their bites are not fatal if they are treated  promptly. This blog explains what you need to know in case your dog is bitten by an adder –

Adders have a distinct pattern that makes them easily identifiable. You’ll see a black zig-zag on their back, regardless of the main colour of their skin.

If your dog is bitten they may have sudden pain or swelling, typically on the limbs or face.

It is rare that your dog will die after being bitten by an adder, but you will need to contact your vet as soon as possible.

In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to help your dog before they get treatment.

*Do not try to suck out the venom as is its likely to make the situation worse

*Keep your pet as calm as possible

*Carry your dog so that venom has less chance to spread quickly around their body

*If possible, try to bathe the wound in cold water to reduce inflammation and swelling

Adders are mostly found lurking in the undergrowth and dogs can be bitten if they root around in these areas during walks. It’s best if you can stick to paths and keep your dog on their lead so that they have less chance to dive into undergrowth.

If you encounter an adder that has ventured out into the open, it’s important to keep your distance and not let your dog get too close. Adders rarely bite unless they feel threatened but they are more likely to get nasty if you are moving so stay as still as possible and give them the opportunity to move away.

If your dog does get bitten treatment will involve pain relief, reducing the swelling and sometimes will extend to anti venom medication if this is needed. The prognosis is very good and most dogs will make a full recovery  quickly after receiving treatment