It’s sizzling in Texas and just like humans, snakes are seeking cool places to beat the heat during our record high temperatures. They may be cozied up in the shade of rocks on a favorite hiking trail, in the moist coolness around potted outdoor plants or dark recesses under decks and porches.
Most of the time, snakes remain aloof and keep their distance from people and pets. But mid-summer is a peak time for snake activity, which increases the chance of a cat or dog crossing paths with the reptile while on a hike or roaming around outdoors.
Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) wants to help Austinites keep their furry friends safe by providing the following helpful pointers:
Keep dogs on leash while hiking on trails or when outdoors in unfamiliar areas.
Keep yards clear of rock piles, stacks of wood or other “covers” that could provide a shady area for snakes.
Be aware that cats sometimes actually seek out snakes.
Cats and dogs are inquisitive creatures and despite our best efforts to prevent our furry friends from crossing paths with a snake, it may happen. If you see a snake near your pet, assume they may have been bitten. If possible, take a picture of the snake or commit its color pattern to memory, which will help your veterinarian identify next steps. Keep the dog or cat as calm as possible and immediately call your veterinarian or nearest pet emergency center and follow their instructions.
Sometimes the only clue you will have that your pet may have been bitten will be based on how your pet is acting, especially since snake bites aren’t often visible. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
Your pet becomes wobbly or unsteady.
Your pet exhibits unexpected shaking or trembling.
Your pet’s breathing may become fast or shallow.
Your dog may vomit within the first hour of being bitten.
Following these simple steps will help you protect your fur babies from snake bites during this time of high snake activity and extreme heat.