Adders love the sun and can often be spotted basking in the sun in woodland, heathland and moors. They’re found across the UK, although they tend to be more common in South-West England and Scotland.
The area of the bite should be washed to remove any venom from the skin. Use clean water or a medi-wipe. You might put a ‘cold compress’ on the bite site but do not apply ice packs. A cold compress could even be bandage or other material soaked in cool water. This will help limit the spread of the venom and relieve any pain.
Adder bites can be severe but are rarely fatal in dogs. However, they can make a dog very ill and should be treated as an emergency.
Facts and advice on adder bites
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If, after a walk, you believe your dog may have been bitten by an adder, you should speak to your vet immediately.
It is likely the bite will be painful, cause swelling, tingling and distress. However as long as the casualty doesn’t have an underlying health problem they should be OK. Let the casualty take their time, after an initial period of 20-30 minutes the casualty may stand slowly and start to walk out with support and head for the nearest A&E Department.
Adder Bites In Dogs
If you suspect that your dog has been bitten by an adder, you should take them to your vet immediately.
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What does an adder look like?
There are a few different snakes found in the UK, but the European Adder is the only one that is venomous and that is a potential danger to your dog. Our advice covers the signs that your dog has been bitten by an adder and also what you do.
The zig zag pattern on the adder is distinctive. If it does not have this it could be one of the species below.
Advice on Adder Bites
The adder is grey in colour and has a dark zig-zag pattern down its back, and a red eye. An adult adder can grow to around 60 to 80cm and they are often referred to as ‘stocky’.
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What are the signs of an adder bite on dogs?
Keep the bitten limb below the heart height to slow spread of any venom. Assuming it is their leg that has been bitten, sit the casualty down on a rock, tree stump, or backpack, with their leg downhill. Loosen clothing on the affected limb and remove jewellery.
A small dog may be affected more than a larger dog. The amount that the dog has moved after being bitten will also make a difference, as will the location of the bite. Speed is of the essence.