Bark About! Blog

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Rattlesnakes Are NOT Your Dog’s Best Friend

A heat shot view of a rattlesnake

People are finding rattlesnakes on their property more than usual and, sometimes, for the first time. Rodents are looking for food, rattlesnakes are looking for rodents and with dry conditions, these rodents are coming closer to your house. It’s like a follow-the-leader game with you and your dog caught in the middle.

How do you break this cycle? You can’t make it rain, but you can make your house less attractive to rodents by:

  • Keeping outside trash like food scraps, dog food or standing water to a minimum.
  • Rodents love fruit from your fruit trees so keep your premises clear of dropped fruit.
  • Rattlesnakes love the shade. Clear your property of anything that can be slithered under.

If you suspect you have a rattlesnake problem and you’ve done all the preventive measures, do this before letting the dogs loose:

  • Scan the premises first and do a visual inspection. Look under stuff and do not be afraid to make some noise. Make your presence known.
  • Rattlesnakes are very sensitive to vibrations. Stomp your feet or tap the ground with a heavy stick. They do not want confrontation and will leave as soon as you, the predator, arrives.
  • Rattlesnake classes are available that teach dogs to run away from rattlesnakes as opposed to being overly curious.

What if the worst happens?

If your dog finds a rattlesnake, you’ll know because of the exciting barking and/or the classic rattling sound. Your dog may go deaf to your calling because of this wonderful newly discovered “toy”.

Snakes will usually try to get away, but if cornered, will strike. If a bite occurs, the good news is that it’s not usually fatal to a healthy dog IF the dog is taken to emergency right away. Do not cut the wound and suck the poison. Keep the dog calm and carry (if you can) him to the car. Keeping the dog calm will slow the progression of venom.

Remember, as always, your dog depends on you. Being proactive first but calm if the worst happens can save your dogs life.

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