You hear that? Is that a rattle? Well, maybe not just yet, but as average temperatures rise in southern Nevada, rattlesnakes will soon be out for hunting and sunbathing. Rattlesnakes are most active in the spring and fall when temperatures reach 70 to 90 degrees, particularly in the morning, evening, and night.
If you are hiking with your dog, then keep an eye out for these potentially dangerous locals. Rattlesnakes tend to keep to themselves, but curious dogs that are off-leash just might get a bite on the nose if they don’t mind their own business.
Three Quick Tips for Snake Season 2018
Keep your dog(s) leashed. Most dogs are off-leash when they get bitten. This is especially true with a group of dogs that are off-leash together, since they get into a pack mentality and decide it’s a good idea to go snake hunting. Unfortunately, dogs usually don’t come out winners.
If your dog gets bitten, go to the vet. Even if your dog has received the rattlesnake vaccine, she should see a vet as soon as possible after a bite. If your dog is small enough, carry her to the car. If your dog is bigger, then walk her to the car. Running or panicking raises your dog’s blood pressure and spreads venom through the body faster.
Get the rattlesnake vaccine. The rattlesnake vaccine doesn’t completely protect your dog against the effects of rattlesnake venom, but it buys time. Vaccinated dogs typically need less hospitalization and are less likely to die from a rattlesnake bite.
If your dog has never had a rattlesnake vaccine, then a booster shot will be needed one month after the first dose.
Dogs that have been vaccinated previously should ideally get the vaccine 1 month prior to any rattlesnake exposure.
The vaccine lasts for up to a year, but highest protection occurs about 4 to 6 weeks after vaccination, then declines steadily over time.
If your dog is at high risk for rattlesnake bites year-round, then getting a booster every 6 months may be considered.