Snakes can be scary. But we don’t have to let fear of them keep us from dog hikes. Even a little education about snakes can take some mystery out of the woods.
Part 1 of this story outlined a Course of Action for empowering ourselves to hike with dogs in snaky regions. This post, Part 2 of the story, identifies on-line resources we can use to carry out our Course of Action.
A Little Knowledge can be Freeing
One reassuring fact about snakes: they are not out to get us. They do their best to avoid humans (therefore dogs?). What we need to be careful of is allowing our dogs to chase or startle snakes. Snakes strike out to defend themselves, much like other wild animals (like bears!). For this reason, I highly recommend keeping dogs on a leash while hiking snaky regions.
Now, let’s learn!
Below are articles relevant to people hiking with dogs in the United States. Most of them are short (with pictures!).
The articles are ordered by priority. If you are short on time, I highly recommend at least the first two Titles: the “Summer Safety” video and the “Snake Bites and Dogs” article.
In addition to reading these articles, I strongly suggest dropping by Nature Centers in areas you visit for specific regional snake considerations.
Note: I do not have personal experience with snakes and snakebites. The links listed below are intended as a starting point for the uninitiated such as myself. Consider doing your own research, especially if you are going to be deep in the woods and away from veterinary help. I hope that those who do have experience with snakes and dogs will share their stories.
Watch and Read at Least These Two
|Summer Safety – Snake Awareness||
||An easy to watch and short (3:44) video. It was made for Arkansas snake awareness, but is general enough for any region.|
|Snake Bites and Dogs||
||Excellent article for dog owners. Only three pages long. Warning: the leading photo is a snake’s wide-open mouth and it is a little gruesome!|
Read These Too
||Pictures and descriptions of venomous snakes and the regions they inhabit. How to prevent and provide first aid to snake bites. Note: this site is the CDC’s (Centers for Diseas Control and Prevention) and geared towards outdoor workers, but it is useful to all of us.|
|How to Avoid and Treat Snakebites||
||Another short overview on how to avoid snakes and treat snakebites. It is a little more descriptive with “How To Treat Snakebites” than the CDC’s “Venomous Snakes” article (above) so I included it here.|
|How to Identify a Venomous Snake||
||A short, easy reference on identifying venomous snakes. Includes large colorful drawings.|
Dig a Little Deeper
|Rattlesnake Bites the Dog||
||An article put out by Bark Magazine describing venomous snakebites. It may have too much information for the especially-squeamish. If this is the case, jump down to “What are the general signs of a snakebite wound?” and read the rest from there.|
|Snake Bites in Pets||
||An excellent, if slightly longer and more technical, article about snakebites in pets. Written by a veterinarian in North Carolina. It is worth the read if you have time. Take notes. Helpful hints include: muzzle or wrap your dog in blankets to keep yourself safe! A snake-bit dog may be scared enough to bite you.|
|How Snakes Work||
||There are 6 pages to the full article. All are interesting, but Page 2 (the link provided will take you right there) was one useful to our dog hiking cause. What’s useful to know: snakes can hear and smell just fine, and can see as well as they need to depending on where they live (underwater vs above ground).|
A Suggestion for Your First-Aid Kit
|K-9 Officer Uses Benadryl …||
||This is a short (1:41) news article. It suggests that Benadryl could save a dog after a snakebite.|
Share What You Know
If you have dog and snake hiking stories or knowledge to share, be sure to submit a comment below. Happy Hiking!