Apart from those that like to keep snakes as pets, many other people would not like to run into an intruding snake in their homes. One of the ways to deter snakes from coming into your home is by using a natural adversary to keep them out. Dogs are one of the most common pets in the home, but can they really serve this purpose? Do dogs keep snakes away?
Yes, dogs keep snakes away. Dogs are big and loud, can easily detect snakes, and have the ability to hunt them down. A snake will do anything possible not to get in the way of dogs because any confrontation will end in a fight, which the snake wouldn’t want to risk. However, not all breeds of dogs have the tendency to attack snakes.
In this article, we will look at the interactions between snakes and dogs. We will also try to answer other random questions dog owners ask.
What types of dogs keep snakes away?
Dogs are not really specialists in killing snakes. There are animals more specialized in killing snakes than dogs; examples are mongooses, honey badgers, otters, etc.
It is important to note that dogs were not bred or trained to kill snakes. So getting any of these dog breeds does not mean that you’ve gotten a trained snake hunter and killer.
However, these dogs have a greater propensity to attack, fight, and defend you from any intruding snakes. It is also important to know that some of these dog breeds may get bitten by snakes during confrontation; however, dogs are more likely to survive a snake bite if taken to a vet promptly. Statistics show that up to 95% of dogs survive a snake bite.
Examples of dog breeds that kill snakes are:
Jack Russell Terrier
Can dogs detect snakes?
Yes, dogs have the ability to smell or detect snakes. Dogs have a very strong sense of smell, so they have the ability to detect things like termites, underground rats, and snakes. Despite having a brain that is one-tenth the size of humans, a dog’s sense of smell is forty times stronger than that of humans.
Similarly, dogs are curious animals and would naturally want to investigate any smell or odor they perceive. Snakes have cloacal glands that are situated on the back of their tails. They can emit a bad smell through their cloaca.
They usually do so whenever they feel bothered, threatened, or scared; they can feel any of these emotions if they sense the presence of your dog. When a dog smells this odor, its natural reaction is to investigate it. This becomes an opportunity for your dog to discover a snake lurking around.
Will snakes harm dogs?
Yes, snakes have the potential to harm dogs. Snakes do as much as possible not to cross paths with dogs; they do not like confronting dogs. However, if a snake happens to find itself confronted by a dog without any way to escape, it will try to defend itself by striking at the dog. While a non-venomous snake may not pose any serious threat to your dog, a venomous snake can bite a dog in a fight, and if the dog suffers envenomation, it may need to be taken to a vet or else it might die from the bite. However, this finally boils down to the species of venomous snake and the breed of dog.
What should you do once your dog discovers a snake.
Once your dog discovers a snake in your vicinity, the best thing to do is to keep your dog away from the snake and call snake catchers. If your dog is one of the above-mentioned breeds, then it will go ahead and confront the snake. If you find out that the snake in your vicinity is dead or injured as a result of your dog’s encounter with the snake, it is important to take your dog to the vet to determine if there was any snake bite and to know if there is any medication to give your dog.
What do dogs do when they see snakes?
There are several types of dog breeds, some are more aggressive and would confront any snake in their territory, while others will bark at the snake while assuming a defensive posture.
What to do when a snake bites your dog
It’s a little difficult to detect snake bites in dogs. Unlike humans with soft and clear skin, dogs have fur covering them, making it difficult to see the scratches or puncture marks caused by snake bites. Initially, a snake bite is painless, so you might not notice any bruising, redness, or swelling in your dog. Because of this, it is very necessary to take your dog to a vet whenever you find out that a snake is lying dead or injured in your surroundings.
Dogs bitten by a snake may not show any obvious signs because they can remain asymptomatic for almost 24 hours after the bite.
Apart from this, the symptoms a dog might show when bitten by a particular snake species may be different from those of another dog bitten by the same snake, so this is why it is difficult to know if your dog is a victim of a snake bite or not. Snakes do not all have the same type of venom; some snake venom is more potent than others.
Sometimes even experienced veterinarians fail to identify a snake bite based on these symptoms, so they often need the help of snake identification kits. These are the most common symptoms shown by most dogs after a snake bite.
Sudden collapse or weakness
Shaking, trembling, or twitching of muscles
Weakness in the hind legs
Vomiting and diarrhea
For some dogs, it takes a long time for them to fully recover from snake bites.
They may experience lethargy and weakness as long-term effects, and it may continue for days to weeks after treatment. Another long-term effect that may be noticed is the formation of echinocytes.
Dogs keep snakes away. While all dogs generally bark at the sight of snakes, some particular dog breeds go ahead and fight and kill the snakes. Having one of these notorious snake-fighting dogs can be an extra help to prevent yourself from encounters with a snake. While these dogs will help you fight snakes, they could also be in danger of being bitten during confrontations. It is therefore important that you take your dogs to the veterinarian anytime you see a dead or injured snake in your compound in order to detect if there is a case of snake bite.