Dog in long grass


Dogs are born hunters – not to mention curious to the point of being, well, rather nosey. As a result, they often cross paths with snakes both in the country and in the city around places like lakes, beaches and bushland.

In Australia, Tiger Snakes and Brown Snakes pose the biggest threat to dogs. Bites usually happen in the warmer months because snakes are usually hibernating during cold weather.

Where on the body are most dogs bitten?

Snakes can bite any part of a dog’s body, but it’s usually on the head, neck or legs.

The damage done depends on the:

  • type of snake (some are more venomous than others)
  • amount of venom injected
  • part of the body bitten-closer to the heart is more dangerous.

What are common symptoms of snake bites?

Snake venoms can cause a combination of serious signs including:

  • paralysis
  • anaphylaxis (severe life threatening allergic reaction to the venom)
  • sudden weakness followed by collapse
  • shaking or twitching of the muscles
  • vomiting
  • dilated pupils not responsive to light
  • blood in the urine

What do I do if my dog has been bitten?

If you think that your dog might have been bitten by a snake you should:

  • immobilise them
  • try to keep them quiet
  • get them to a vet as fast as possible (carry them if possible)

And, to help your veterinarian determine which anti-venom to use try to:

  • identify the snake, or
  • remember its colour and size

How can I lessen the risk of snake bites?

While you can’t monitor your dog 24 hours a day, you can reduce the risk of snake bites by avoiding unsupervised, off-lead walks in high-risk areas especially during hot months.