A python was spotted at a Lota park recently, a reminder that Australia’s diverse ecosystem can endanger our pets. Knowing how to protect your dog from snakes can save both of you a lot of pain and avoid a hefty vet bill.
Although snakes move about more in warmer months, you need to remain vigilant for them year-round. Dogs are natural hunters, so they may be tempted to pursue a snake or bark at it. To avoid this, keep an eye out for snakes as you walk and don’t let your dog explore holes or investigate rocks or logs. Stay on sidewalks or in areas where grass is short. Snakes often hang out in tall grass. In cooler weather, they may also seek the warmth of the sun by resting atop structures such as fences.
Teaching your dog a “Leave It” command can keep your pet safe from many hazards, including snakes.
You may want to avoid letting your dog venture into the backyard alone, especially if it is small. Pythons sometimes devour pets. Make your yard less appealing to snakes by clearing out grass and other debris, filling holes and maintaining the lawn. Put away toys and other items that may provide convenient hiding places for snakes. If you enjoy meals in your backyard or feed animals there, clean up thoroughly. Leftover food can attract rodents, a favourite meal for snakes.
If you see a snake, do not try to catch are kill it on your own. Call a professional to avoid violating laws that protect snakes.
If a snake does bite your dog, stay calm. Try to keep your dog calm and reduce distractions. Call your vet and explain what happened and then bring your dog there. Your vet may ask you to describe the snake, but it’s ok if you can’t remember or don’t know. The vet will administer antivenom, and may need to stay at the doctor’s office for several days.