If you hear a yelp on a dog walk and you see a snake near your pet, then you will worry that your dog has been bitten. Your dog may come straight back to you and look OK, but you can't assume this means it wasn't bitten. How can you check if the snake bit your dog?
Can You See Puncture Marks?
Snakes most often bite dogs on their legs or face. Check your pet over in these areas first and then give them a check everywhere else. Look for traces of blood or puncture marks. If you can't see anything obvious, run your hands over your dog's coat. It is was bitten, it may react if you touch the wound site. If you find puncture marks, your dog needs to go to the vet immediately.
Is Your Dog Acting Normally?
While some dogs don't show obvious symptoms after a snake bite, some have an immediate reaction. Even if you can't find puncture marks, these signs indicate that your pet was bitten. Look for the following symptoms:
- Blinking faster or slower than normal
- Breathing problems
- Enlarged pupils
- Shaking, twitching or muscle weakness
- Vomiting or extreme urination and defecation
- Signs of paralysis
Sometimes, a dog that has been bitten by a snake will show some initial symptoms and then seem to go back to normal. Don't assume that this means that your dog wasn't bitten or is OK. Chances are your pet will get real sick again later after a short hiatus in which they seem unaffected.
If your pet shows any of these symptoms, even if they come and go quickly, then get it to your vet on an emergency basis. If you can, call your vet on the way to warn them that they may need to deal with a snake bite.
What If You Aren't Sure?
If you can't find puncture marks and your dog doesn't seem ill, then you may not be sure what to do. Bear in mind that it can take a while for dogs to show symptoms after a snake bite, so you may not be out of the woods yet.
Call your vet and explain what happened. Your vet may tell you how to monitor your dog for the next few hours. Or, they may want you to bring your dog in for a blood test to see if it was bitten, just to be on the safe side.