Venomous Snakes and Dogs

The thinking on how to treat a snake bite has changed quite a bit over the years. The old tourniquet has gone by the wayside since the tissue damage was so great from the practice. The following are that which are now widely accepted as the safest way to proceed in the case of venomous snake bite. May you never need to use it!

(Note: Unfortunately, many dogs are bitten in the face/head region, making some of these instructions difficult to carry out!)

1 ~ Allow the bite to bleed freely at first for a minute or two

2 ~ In humans, remove constrictive clothing, shoes, watch, rings etc. In dogs, loosen or remove collar as soon as the dog is contained in such a way that you are fairly certain that he/she cannot get loose.

3 ~ Cleanse/disinfect the bite thoroughly, if possible, for 30 seconds

4 ~ Apply hard direct pressure with gauze pad over the bite area. (Be careful of contact with bodily fluids.)

5 ~ Soak gauze pad with Betadine, if possible, before application.

6 ~ Wrap affected extremity with 2"-3" elastic bandaging, BUT only as tightly as one would for a sprain!

7 ~ Keep affected extremity positioned at, or as close to, heart level as possible. (Sometimes a challenge with animals. But please make the effort.)

8 ~ Immobilize affected extremity; use a splint if possible.

9 ~ Get medical attention as soon as possible.

10 ~ ALSO, identify (and/or kill & bring in with you) the snake for positive identification IF you can do so without being bitten yourself!!!!


1 ~ Do not feed or give anything to drink.

2 ~ Do not allow your pet to engage in any physical activity.

3 ~ Do NOT cut or incise bite marks, and do not apply oral suction to bite!

4 ~ Do not give anything alcoholic orally or any medications. (Unless okayed by your vet before the fact. Ask!)

5 ~ Do not apply cold or hot packs, or a constrictive tourniquet!!!!

6 ~ Do not apply electric shock of any kind!

7 ~ Do not remove dressings/elastic wrap until arrival at the hospital.


To see the possible results of a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake bite, Click on the snake above!
Warning: Extremely Graphic Picture!




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