Can a Rattlesnake Kill a Dog?

Can a rattlesnake kill a dog 1 Can a Rattlesnake Kill a Dog?

In rattlesnake-populated areas many dog owners worry for their pet’s safety and the repercussions if their pet were to be bitten by a rattlesnake. As a dog owner myself, I often worry about my beloved animal and what were to happen if his curiosity one day were to get the best of him.

So, can a rattlesnake kill a dog? Devastatingly, rattlesnakes can kill dogs. But this is not always the case. If you are aware your dog has been bitten by a snake or see the signs of a possible bite, your pet can be treated. It must be done as soon as possible.

There are many things to take into consideration on the topic of rattlesnake bites, especially with your pets. I have done research upon these various topics and will help enlighten you to any questions you may have. If your pet has just been bitten, take them immediately to the nearest veterinary clinic.

Why Do Rattlesnakes Bite?

Many people have heard the saying that animals are more afraid of you than you are of them. This goes for many species of snakes too, rattlesnakes included. But, as for any species when their territory is invaded by unwanted guests, they will defend themselves and their turf.

Rattlesnakes give warnings when they are threatened.

As a defense mechanism they will shake their tails, sounding off an eerie rattling sound to warn off potential threats.

If approached still, they will strike with their fangs which release poisonous venom that can be fatal to the intruder if not treated as soon as possible after the strike occurs.

What Do I Do if I See a Rattlesnake Bite My Dog?

If you see a rattlesnake bite your or another’s dog, the best thing you can do is to remain calm. Remove your dog from the situation as quickly and as safely as possible without you, yourself getting bit and having your dog possibly bitten more.

Immobilize the area that was affected by the snake bite, carry your dog if needed. Also be aware that poison is very powerful and your pet may snap at you out of pain.

Immediately take your dog to the closest veterinarian clinic. If no clinic near you is open or available, it would be wise to go to the nearest emergency department.

What Not to Do in the Situation

There are many things that will make a situation worse, one of which is not remaining calm. Here is a list of things NOT to do in a situation where your dog gets bitten by a snake:

  • Do not wait to bring your pet to the veterinarian clinic. (Do not take risks with your pet!)
  • Do not let your dog be active after it has been bitten.
  • Do not try to suck out the venom.
  • Do not cut anywhere around the wound.
  • Do not put ice on the affected area.
  • Do not put any substances on the wound.
  • Do not use a tourniquet.
  • Do not try to catch the snake.

What Are Signs of a Snakebite Wound?

There are a few tell-tale signs if your dog has a snakebite wound. Visually, you will want to look for the puncture holes of the snake’s fangs where the venom was injected. If the snake that bit your dog was poisonous, you will want to look for the signs of the effect.

Signs include but are not limited too:

  • Swelling
  • Fluid leaking from the affected area
  • Bruising
  • Discoloration

You may also see as a result of a snake bite your dog start to:

  • Vomit
  • Collapse
  • Have muscle tremors
  • Have difficulty breathing

Again, it is extremely important that you take your dog to the closest vet as soon as possible so that they can be helped and saved. 

How Long Does My Dog Have After It’s Been Bitten?

It is said that if your dog was struck by the snake in the trunk of its body it could be too late within thirty minutes. There are many things to take into consideration, such as where your dog was bitten and what type of dog you have.

Smaller dogs tend to have a shorter period of time for the venom to take its toll while larger dogs will last much longer due to their size. It is said, the smaller the dog the more venom it has in its system.

The best places for your dog to be bitten, as bad as that may sound, is in the face or the lower legs. This is because the areas that are bitten begin to swell which causes decreased blood flow in the affected area.

Therefore, the poison will not spread as quickly throughout the rest of the dog’s body. It is important not to take chances and to bring your dog to the closest emergency clinic immediately after being bitten.

How Does Snake Venom Work?

A rattlesnake’s venom is meant to immobilize its victim.  After being bitten the body tissue in the affected area starts to predigest. This predigestion results in blood pressure dropping, therefore causing the victim to go into shock.

The longer the venom is in the victim’s system, the longer it has to go through the bloodstream causing irreversible damage, and eventually if untreated the victim will die.


There are treatments for venomous snake bites for your dog available at veterinarian clinics. At the vet clinic, your dog can receive antivenom and/or vaccines that will save it from the disastrous effects of poisoning.

Antivenom is the only proven treatment that can help reverse the effects of the snake bite. The sooner it is administered the better.

Other things that will help your dog at the veterinary clinic include IV fluids, antibiotics, and pain management. According to research, it is recommended that your dog should be hospitalized for twelve to twenty-four hours for its safety.

Sometimes in drastic cases, blood transfusions are needed, but if you get your pet to a veterinarian clinic soon enough, that usually won’t be needed. It should be noted that if treated properly and in the right manner of time, roughly ninety-five percent of dog snake bite victims make it through.

As long as you follow the proper steps and stay calm in this situation you will give your dog its best chance at recovery.

Related Questions

How can I avoid having my dog being bitten by a snake? You can usually avoid having your pet bitten by a snake by doing proper research on the areas where your pet is or will be including an understanding of hiking trails and the natural inhabitants in that area. It may also be a good idea to get recommendations from local pet owners on where to take your pet for recreational activities such as hikes and camping, etc.

Can a rattlesnake kill a human? Yes, a rattlesnake can kill a human. Much the same as the circumstances of a dog you need to be very quick about getting emergency help as soon as possible if bitten. The same rules apply as to what you should do and not do if bitten. If you have just been bitten by a rattlesnake, call 9-1-1 or present at your local emergency room.

How do you keep rattlesnakes out of your yard?  Good tips to keep rattlesnakes out of your yard is to keep your lawn mowed so that the grass is short and therefore easier to see any snakes that may be there. Also, some people invest in screening their patio and lawn. If you see a rattlesnake in your yard, please call animal patrol and they will be able to move the snake for you.