Prevention is always best when it comes to rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes account for most venomous snakebites and for almost all deaths. Rattlesnakes can be anywhere in and around Ventura, but tend to be mostly on the outskirts of town, in the wooded barrancas, and are more common along the more rural trails in beautiful Ventura County. Fortunately, the more general safety precautions for any dog in an outdoor setting help dogs at risk for rattlesnake bites. The safest default mode for hiking or walking with a dog is to have him or her on a leash at all times so that you can quickly respond to dangers and keep them out of harms way. If a dog is allowed off leash, it is important for their safety and the safety of other animals and people that they respond immediately and appropriately to all voice commands from you. A solid foundation in basic commands and training is critical for everyone’s safety. More specifically, there are also multiple classes offered in Ventura County for rattlesnake aversion training.
If, despite all your attempts at prevention, your dog gets bitten by a rattlesnake, you should keep them as calm as possible and transport them to the nearest veterinary hospital for IMMEDIATE emergency care. Rapid response is critical.
If you feel that your dog’s risk is high for contact with rattlesnakes, there is also a yearly rattlesnake “vaccine” available. It will not eliminate the negative effects of the rattlesnake venom, but it can reduce the severity of the envenomation and buy more critical time for you to get your precious loved one to the veterinary hospital. You can discuss the pros and cons of having this vaccine administered with one of our doctors at your annual exam. For more information about rattlesnakes and your dog, visit our Pet Infomation Library and search “Rattlesnakes.”
- Local Resource for Rattlesnake Avoidance: Ma & Paw Kennnel in Simi Valley, CA