As dog owners, we do everything we can to keep our pets safe. But some dangers are more subtle than others, and it’s important to be vigilant of hidden threats.
Now, one startling viral photo is highlighting one potential hidden danger that could be lurking in your backyard, just feet away from your pets.
In the photo, a dachshund sleeps peacefully on the deck in his backyard. But look closely at the photo, and you’ll see a red belly snake right near him:
The photo was shared by illawarra Snake Catcher, a snake removal service in New South Wales, Australia. Their Facebook post states that there had been a number of dogs bitten by snakes in recent days, and urged pet owners to be vigilant.
“Please keep an eye on your pets. Investigate any strange barking or behaviours. Dogs will often smell them out. Pay attention if the dog keeps going to the same areas.”
Thankfully, the sleepy pup made it out okay. In a Facebook comment, the dog owner said she got him inside after spotting the snake, and the dog was “completely unaware of the danger right in front of him.”
“That photo is so scary looking back,” the owner writes.
The red-bellied black snake is one of the most common snakes found in eastern Australia. The snakes are not aggressive unless provoked, and they are less venomous than many other Australian snakes, but their bites can cause injury and illness.
Even if you don’t live in Australia, the story is a reminder to be vigilant of snakes around your pets. The ASPCA reports that there are over 100,000 venomous snake bites of dogs and cats every year in the United States. The mortality rate is between 1 and 30 percent, depending on the size of the pet, the species of snake and the location of the bite.
“Most pets will recover with prompt and appropriate treatment, but snake bites can be fatal,” the ASPCA writes. “There are higher fatality rates for dogs who are bitten on the tongue or the chest and for pets who have a long delay between the time of the bite and treatment by a veterinarian.”
According to the American Kennel Club, if your dog is bitten by a snake the best course of action is to find a local veterinary clinic that carries antivenom and get your pet treated as soon as possible. Opioid pain medications can also be prescribed.
It’s important to be vigilant to keep your pets safe from snake bites, and to know what to do in the even that your pet gets bitten.
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