Do’s and Don’ts

Snake Bite Guidelines for Pets

All dogs, young and old, are at high risk for snake bite because they’re curious and try to play with them. Please follow the do’s and don’t when a snake bites your pet.


  • Distance yourself from the snake.
  • Take a photo of the snake if safe, but do not kill or bring the snake into the vet.
  • Remove collar or harness from your pet because swelling from the snakebite can constrict the airway.
  • Snakebites are veterinary emergencies, go to a veterinarian that carries antivenin. See locations in the pet antivenin finder.
  • If you are at a clinic that does not carry antivenin, you may request a transfer. It is your responsibility to advocate for your pet!
Pet Snakebite Advice
Pet Snakebite Advice

Things to Remember

Vet Medicine can change over the years, and your veterinarian may not be trained in the newest techniques of snakebite treatment, no judgment. Make sure your pet is treated with antivenin and given opiates for pain relief. Snakebites are incredibly painful as the venom works to destroy tissue and organs.


  • Giving your pets NSAIDS after a snakebite is an old treatment that has shown more harm than good. The minimal pain relief they bring is not worth the major complications like thinning the blood when your pet needs its blood to clot.
  • If you’ve already been given NSAIDs, don’t panic. Take your dog to an emergency veterinarian trained in snakebite treatment.
  • Treating your pets with Benedryl or other antihistamines is another bygone treatment. An antihistamine only works when there is histamine causing a reaction like swelling, etc. Venom is not histamine. Therefore, giving Benadryl is neither beneficial nor harmful so do not count on it helping as there is plenty of evidence it does nothing at all.
Pet Snakebite Advice