Keep pets safe from rattlesnakes
I’ve never been up close and personal with a rattlesnake, nor do I ever want to be. I try to stay clear of where they might be hiding. Our pets aren’t aware of the danger. They’re naturally curious about their surroundings and can get into a tussle with a snake if we’re not watching out for them.
Rattlesnake expert Donald Schultz says various species of rattlers are found in every state except Hawaii and Alaska. Where you might run into them depends on the time of day.
"If I’m out looking for rattlesnakes what I typically do is go out right as the sun sets and drive on the road. That means they’re out hunting, they’re in the open, and that’s typically when people run into them, too. During the day, all bets are off," says Schultz. "They’ll pretty much hide anywhere they like to, but it’s typically got to do with temperature, food, and water."
Keep rattlesnakes away from your property by clearing out any debris, trash, rock piles, and woodpiles so they have no place to hide.
Avoid taking walks with your pet around dusk and dawn, when rattlesnakes are most active. Stick to well-used trails, and keep the dog on a leash. Don’t let them wander or sniff around logs, in holes, and underbrush – all of which are favorite rattler hiding places.
Schultz says if the dog is bitten, there is no first-aid in the field you can do that’s beneficial.
"The best thing to do is remain calm - person or animal – and then remove any collars or anything that could be restrictive around their airway. Same thing in humans, any jewelry or anything, remove that before the swelling starts and then get to the hospital," says Schultz. "The old saying goes ‘time is tissue’ so the longer you take to get to the hospital the more dangerous or deadly it can be."
Some say to make a cut in the bite wound and suck the venom out. Schultz says don’t do it. It’s a myth, and can create a host of other problems.
Learn more about snakes that are poisonous to pets and how to keep them safe
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