A rattlesnake bite to a dog is a nasty thing. Dogs are curious, and that can get them into trouble. They don’t know it’s better to stay away from rattlesnakes. If you live in an area with rattlesnakes, it’s a good idea to be ready for the worst-case scenario ahead of time. Once a bite occurs, you don’t have much time to save your dog’s life.
Most Rattlesnake poison dissolves tissue and bones. The longer it circulates in your dog’s body, the more severe the damage. Death can occur within one hour without treatment.
Rattlesnake vaccines are available, but they don’t provide immunity. They just buy you a little more time to get your dog to the nearest vet. Rattlesnake vaccines are also known to have serious side effects. But if you want to administer that to your dog, it is certainly a personal decision. If it makes sense in the first place depends on your dog’s living arrangements. For example, it could be an option if it takes you 1-2 hours to reach a vet after a rattlesnake bites your dog.
However, snake handlers told me—and additional research confirmed—that the same effect of slowing down the poison can be accomplished with Benadryl. I consider that a better option, and I always have some with me when I hike with my dogs. This is the same for a rattlesnake bite on a dog or a person. You administer it per directions on the package. For a dog, it would be the dosage of a person of the same weight.
Rattlesnake Avoidance Training
Rattlesnake avoidance classes for dogs are also a good idea. They teach your dog to stay away from rattlesnakes in the first place. Refresh the training annually. I take my dogs to Animalia Herpetofauna Inc.’s Rattlesnake Avoidance Training as I like their conditioning protocol the best. They also offer annual re-checks to strengthen my dog’s awareness.
After A Rattlesnake Bite
Once a rattlesnake bite to your dog occurs, we need to get your buddy to the closest vet, who has rattlesnake anti-venom in stock. Not all vets do, as it is expensive and expires quickly. Below, I am listing vets in Southern California who told me that they always carry rattlesnake anti-venom. I will update this post occasionally as I find additional vets. These are only some of the vets in my area. Many more carry the anti-venom; check with your local veterinarians.
Centennial Animal Hospital – 1935 Compton Avenue, Corona, CA 92881 | phone: (951) 371-7383 told me they always have anti-venom for rattlesnake bites for your dog.
TLC Animal Clinic – 2575 Chino Hills Pkwy #B, Chino Hills, CA 91709 | phone: (909) 606-1588 told me they always have anti-venom for rattlesnake bites for your dog.
East Valley Emergency Pet Clinic – 938 N. Diamond Bar Blvd, Diamond Bar, CA 91765 | phone: (909) 861-5737 told me they always have anti-venom for rattlesnake bites for your dog.
Readers are encouraged to send us additional vets who always carry anti-venom, using our contact form.
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Happy Dog Training is the pet dog training business of Ralf Weber and Sarah Gill. We are certified professional dog trainers in Southern California. We are specialized in advanced obedience training, all forms or behavioral challenges and service dog training. For behavioral training, we are known for our work with aggressive and fearful dogs. Our service dogs, through Total K9 Focus, have a nationwide reputation for their reliability, longevity and performance.
Ralf Weber, MS, TWC CPDT, IACP CDT, CDTA
Certified Professional Dog Trainer Ralf Weber is lead pet dog trainer of Happy Dog Training. Ralf is a long-time dog owner of German Shepherds. During his career, Ralf has worked with over a 1500 dogs of many different breeds. Moreover, Ralf has a thorough understanding of all aspects of canine training. This includes evolutionary psychology, ethology, and, most importantly, learning science. Ralf is specialized in resolving dog behavior challenges—especially fear and aggression. Apart from this, Ralf trains dogs in basic and advanced obedience, service dog tasks, and GRC Dog Sports. Ralf is further certified in a broad range of other canine training areas. Last but not least, Ralf is the author of the behavioral book If Your Dog Could Talk: Understand Your Dog Like Never Before.
Ralf loves helping people have a better relationship with their dogs. He is a certified professional dog trainer in the Training without Conflict™ methodology by Ivan Balabanov (TWC CPDT). Ralf is also a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals and also holds their basic and advanced dog trainer certifications (IACP CDT, CDTA). In addition, Ralf is an AKC-approved evaluator for the AKC Puppy Star, CGC, and Advanced CGC programs and is also certified in canine first aid by the Red Cross.
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Sarah Gill, is a professional service dog trainer and handler. Sarah entered the world of professional service dog training after a car accident. As a result, she had to use a wheelchair for almost two years, trying to maneuver in a house not designed for it. No one expected Sarah would walk again. This opened her eyes and became a driving force behind pushing herself to defy the odds. When she regained some stability, Sarah attended a dog training school and learned how to train service dogs. Sarah completed her Master Trainer Certification and gained further experience by training new trainers. However, the school wasn’t accommodating to those with physical difficulties and PTSD. Hence, Sarah moved home to Dallas. In 2019, Sarah teamed up with Ralf and moved to California.
Sarah started this journey because she had a trained dog to mitigate her disabilities. But Sarah needed additional tasking for a new diagnosis. The only option she could find was getting a second dog for the new diagnosis. She knew there had to be a different way to address this. Sarah's passion is changing the ways of the service dog training industry.