Wildlife experts say rattlesnakes are now on the move here in Northern Nevada, their food supply boosted by winter storms. Dogs are 20 times more likely than humans to be bitten by a venomous snake and 25 times more likely to die from a bite, according to the Animal Medical Center of Southern California.
“A rattlesnake bite is likely a more serious concern for dogs because they’re so small,” said Brian Todd, a wildlife biologist at UC Davis. “I anticipate snakes will be very active this year.”
If you enjoy activities that take you and your dogs outdoors, you and your pets may be at risk for encountering rattlesnakes. And as the snakes move along in search of food and mates, they may even end up in your own backyard.
“I’d say that most dog owners don’t really think about snake bites until they see a rattlesnake for themselves, on trails, in parks, or even at their own homes, and then realize their dogs can be at risk,” said John Potash, owner of Get Rattled. “Get Rattled is a unique training clinic designed specifically to teach dogs to recognize and avoid the sight, sound, and smell of rattlesnakes. We have been teaching this clinic for over 15 years and have successfully trained thousands of dogs.”
Potash is licensed by the Nevada Department of Wildlife and has more than 25 years of experience working with venomous snakes and wildlife in areas of wildlife control and rescue, and public education. He works with a team of trained and experienced dog handlers and trainers with decades of combined experience in a variety of training and handling methods to offer you, and your dog’s, the best quality training in a safe and secure environment.
Rattlesnake Avoidance Training is a crucial tool for dog owners.
“Prevention is your number one line of defense in protecting your dogs from venomous snakes,” Potash said. “When dogs and their owners go hiking or to the dog parks to go off leash, this training teaches them to be fearful of the rattlesnake. It protects people as well, as the dog becomes an alert system. This training has proven to be an effective tool in teaching rattlesnake avoidance to all dogs from Great Danes to Chihuahuas.”
Because of many variables in rattlesnake bites, the health risks to dogs from a bite can vary greatly depending on the amount of venom injected, the species and size of rattlesnake, and the size of the dog and where it was bitten. Dogs can also be bitten when owners are not around, so Potash suggests people know some general signs of a bite along with health risks.
“Dogs are usually bitten on their face, head, neck or limbs so look for severe swelling, or the dog favoring those areas. After some time, the venom may produce nausea, vomiting, and the dog may seem lethargic. If you see a snake bite happen or notice these symptoms, keep your dog calm and take them to a vet right away. Every bite is a medical emergency and even if the symptoms are minor, it is always better to be safe than sorry.”
Northern Nevada pet owners are encouraged to take part in the rattlesnake avoidance training on June 18 at Dayton Valley Dog Park.
Trainings are provided by either appointment or walk-in between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. with sessions lasting about 20 minutes. The cost is $85 per dog and $60 for a refresher course.
For more information and a schedule of upcoming classes, go to http://GetRattled.org.
To register or for more information, find Get Rattled online, or call 775-234-8844.