Before you venture out with your best canine pal in tow to take in the sights and sounds and thrill of the Boise Foothills hiking trails, you should know more about rattlesnakes and how to keep your dog safe from possibly lethal snake bites. Knowledge is the best preventative measure – so, take that first step. Read on!

What should I do before I hit the trails?

Get your dog vaccinated for rattlesnake bites. This vaccine DELAYs the reaction to the snake bite but does NOT eliminate the lethal threat of it. It is reduced and delayed thereby giving you more time to seek veterinary care. I repeat, it delays and reduces the reaction, it does NOT eliminate it. It also reduces the amount of anti-venom that your dog would need to try and save his life and anti-venom is very, very expensive. The vaccine itself will most likely cost you about $25-30 depending on the area in which you live.

How can I help my dog avoid snakes altogether?

Dogs are curious creatures that act upon instinct. If you’re on the trails, there’s a good chance that your dog will sniff out the rattlesnake, hear the rattle or stick his nose in the area of a rattle snake and get bit. One way to help your dog AVOID this scenario is by Rattlesnake Avoidance Training. Simply put, your dog is trained to avoid the scent, sounds and smell of a rattle snake. During this training your dog will be exposed to muzzled snakes. The trainers use a training collar that provides a low level shock to your dog when he is near the snake. While the thought of your dog being shocked may bother you, it can save your dog’s life. As with any training or treatment, do your own research before attending any seminar. Ask questions.

More tips:

• Leash your dog.

• Steer clear of brush and rocks where snakes could be lurking.

• Find out ahead of time where the closes animal hospital is so you are prepared in the unlikely event your dog gets bit.

• If you come across a snake slowly back away and leave that immediate area.

Signs that dog has been bit:

• Swelling

• Panting and drooling

• Swelling

• Pain

• Puncture wounds

• Tremors or seizures

• Weakness or collapse

For more information, call The Pet Sitter of Boise, LLC . We can help you find an upcoming seminar in the Boise area and beyond to help keep your pet safe along the hiking trails.

UPDATE: The 2016 Idaho Humane society class is on June 4, 2016. Here is the link for more information:–promotions/rattlesnake-avoidance-/

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