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Prevent and deal with hazards, both inside and outside your home.

Snake Bites and Pets

In the warmer summer months, snakes become much more active. Because of this, pet owners must be careful to protect their pets from snake bites, and to be aware of the warning signs in case their animal is bitten.

What should I do if I think my pet has been bitten by a snake?

If you think your pet has been bitten by a snake, keep him calm and quiet, and take him to a veterinarian immediately. The chances of recovery are greater if he is treated early (80 per cent), with some pets making a recovery within 48 hours. Pets who are left untreated have a much lower survival rate.

If your veterinarian is far away, you will need to apply first aid. Keep your pet calm and quiet, and apply a pressure bandage – a firm bandage placed over and around the bite site – to help slow the venom from spreading to his heart. Do not wash the wound or apply a tourniquet.

If you can identify the snake, tell your veterinarian, but don’t try to catch or kill the snake. If the snake is dead, you can bring it with you. Otherwise, there is a blood or urine test that can identify whether your pet has been bitten and the type of snake that was responsible.

Once the snake has been identified, your veterinarian can administer antivenom. Please be warned that antivenom is quite expensive and can result in a hefty veterinary bill.

If you are walking your dog close to bushland, especially near water during the summer months, please keep him on a lead and avoid long grassy areas. Keep the grass low in your backyard or property, clean up any rubbish piles and clear away objects where snakes may be able to hide e.g., under sheets of corrugated metal, wood piles, etc.

If you think your pet has been bitten by a snake, please call an RSPCA veterinary hospital or your local veterinarian immediately.