/Snake Bites on Dogs — What to Know & What to Do

Snake Bites on Dogs — What to Know & What to Do

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Depending on where you live, snake bites on dogs can pose a real threat. There are about 20 kinds of venomous snakes throughout the United States. These include rattlesnakes and copperheads, most commonly found in areas with dry marsh, mountain and pine forest.
Different types of snake bites on dogs
Snake bites on dogs vary in severity. Photography © adogslifephoto | iStock / Getty Images Plus.
There are about 20 venomous snakes throughout the United States, but not all species of snakes are dangerous. Of course, it depends where you live, but according to Venombyte.com, there is at least one kind of venomous snake in every state in the U.S. except for Alaska.
“Non-poisonous snakes, like the garter snake, don’t have fangs. They have rows of teeth and they do not produce toxic venom,” says Dr. Travis Arndt, director of Animal Medical Center of Mid-America.
This distinction is crucial when it comes to snake bites on dogs, Dr. Arndt explains. “So, if you or your dog are bitten by a non-poisonous snake, you won’t see the two puncture wounds that you would see from a venomous snake. A non-poisonous bite can still become infected, so you will want to contact your veterinarian right away if your dog has been bitten.”
What snake bites on dogs are especially dangerous?
The severity of snake bites on dogs often has to do with the type of snake. According to Dr. Arndt, there are a few snakes whose bites can be particularly fatal and dog owners should watch out for them.
“Bites from a venomous snake, like the copperhead, water moccasin, rattlesnake or Eastern coral, require immediate medical attention,” Dr. Arndt explains.
Copperhead snakes can be found along the Eastern seaboard spanning from New York to Nebraska. Water moccasin snakes — also known as cottonmouths — have an exceptionally dangerous bite that can lead to death. They’re most commonly found in marshes, swamps, warm streams and lakes on the east coast.
Similarly, rattlesnake bites can cause hemorrhaging. There are a few species of rattlesnakes, but they typically live in the southeastern states of the U.S., including the coastal regions of Florida. Lastly, the Eastern coral snake has some of the most potent venom in North America. However, they are nocturnal and not really known for striking humans or dogs. The Eastern coral snake can be found in places like Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Symptoms of snake bites on dogs
A key part of knowing if a dog is suffering from a snake bite is witnessing the snake bite happen or