It's that time of year again for Ahwatukee dog owners. The heat rises and inevitably the creepy, crawly and slithery come out to play and may come in contact with your pet. Today we're talking about the slithery. Rattlesnakes.
Some areas of Ahwatukee, like the Foothills, see more activity than the lower elevation neighborhoods, but the fact remains that if you're an Arizona resident there are chances you and your dog could come into contact with a rattlesnake in your yard, on a walk or during a hike.
An encounter with a rattlesnake could prove deadly for your dog, but there are a few things you can do to be prepared and protect your dog from harm.
1. Get the rattlesnake vaccine for your dog.
Red Rock Biologics makes a vaccine from snake venom and works to REDUCE and DELAY your dog's reaction to a bite. It does not completely eliminate threat or the venom's effect, so an immediate trip to the vet is necessary. The vaccine costs about $25 compared to up to $1,000 for anti-venom. Contact your local vet and ask if they have or will order the vaccine.
2. Tighten the leash.
Most bites occur when a dog is off leash or on a flexi-lead. Walking your dog on a leash about 6 feet long gives them ample room to enjoy their walk but gives you enough reaction time to pull your dog back from a snake in its path.
3. Stay on path.
While hiking or on walks, avoid rocky areas, large or dense brush and tall grass patches. Hiking paths are well traveled and have been cleared of most dense areas, but snakes may still be present just off path. Keeping your dog on an even shorter leash during hikes will help keep them from sticking their nose in the wrong place.
4. Know the signs.
Not knowing the signs and symptoms of a rattlesnake bite could prove the difference between life and death for your dog if they are bitten out of your view.
Immediate symptoms will almost always include:
• puncture wounds that may be bleeding
• severe pain
• restlessness, panting or even drooling
Depending on the size of your dog and how much venom was injected, any of the following more severe symptoms and reactions may occur immediately or within hours:
• lethargy, weakness, sometimes leading to collapse
• muscle spasms/tremors
• neurological signs including reduced respiration
5. If you and your dog encounter a rattlesnake...
calmly and slowly back away until you are no longer within striking distance of the snake (about the snakes length) and until the snakes stops rattling. After you are out of reach, carefully leave the area - if there is one snake, there are likely to be more.
6. If your dog is bitten by a rattlesnake...
If you are able to, carry your dog to your car. If you can't carry them, slowly walk them until you reach your car. Limiting your dog's movements will limit the venom from moving around in their body. GET THEM TO A VET IMMEDIATELY! The faster your dog can get the anti-venom and/or other emergency treatment, the greater their chance of survival.
7. Train them up.
Arizona is one of the states where rattlesnake aversion training classes can be found and easily accessed. A quick internet search will help you find classes and their training methods.
- - -
Ahwatukee pet sitter Bridget Freidhoff has a passion for Animals
My passion for animals and interest in serving others inspired my decision to become a professional pet sitter.
Prior to opening 4PawSitting in Ahwatukee, I was an experienced veterinary assistant for several years at a prestigous hospital in Scottsdale, assisting in all types of surgeries, performing dentals, post op care, hospitalization, and educating owners on overall wellness.
I provide full time caring for pets while their owners are away. Having your pet in a comfortable environment without the kennel concerns and extra vaccinations makes your travel less stressful. That's why I started 4Paw Sitting.