Summertime is when we like to hit the trails with our dogs. Exploring the outdoors together is a great way to bond, get some healthy exercise, and find new areas to love. There are dangers out there, though, and being prepared is critical.
Of all the dangers we might think of when exploring trails with our dogs, rattlesnakes might not cross our minds. They are a real threat, though, and knowing how to keep your dog safe from rattlesnakes could save his life.
There are a lot of good reasons for leashing your dog on the trail, and rattlesnake safety is a big one. Your dog is much more likely to get bitten if he is allowed to run ahead. Keep him on a leash so you can see where you both are stepping.
When hiking, you want to look around and enjoy the natural beauty around. You also need to keep an eye on the trail and watch where you step. Rattlesnakes like to sun themselves in open spaces, and a hot dusty trail is an ideal place. Make sure you look where you are stepping and keep an eye on the trail ahead.
Staying on trails is good for the health of the natural environment you explore. It also helps keep you and your dog safe from rattlesnakes that could be under bushes, weeds, or rocks off the trail. Rattlesnakes are most likely to bite a human or dog when they are surprised, and walking off the trail can lead to just such an encounter.
If your dog does get bitten by a rattlesnake, remain calm. You want to keep your dog as calm as possible to prevent her heart from pumping the venom through her system more quickly. You will need to get her to an emergency veterinary hospital as soon as possible. If you can, carry her to your car. If that’s not an option, walk back as calmly as possible.
There is a rattlesnake vaccination available for dogs. Ask your vet about it. Even with a vaccination, your dog will need veterinary attention if bitten by a rattlesnake, but a vaccination could make a lifesaving difference.