Trail Tips

We’re starting this new series off with a ‘what to do’ if your curious collie or friendly fur baby finds themselves face to face with a snake while hiking with you.


Just the other day I was hiking a Chattanooga favorite, Stringers Ridge Park, and stumbled upon a 5-foot black rat snake. Luckily I only had to worry about myself, but I left the trail curious of the best way to care for a snake bitten pup.


North America has 15 species of rattlesnakes; two kinds of Water Moccasins, the Copperhead and Cottonmouth; and two kinds of Coral Snakes. All of which, are poisonous and can severely harm you and yours. Depending on the amount of venom the snake injects, the location of the bite, the age and species of the dog, and intensity and depth of the fang penetration. Fortunately, the odds of a full recovery are usually in your dogs favor.

That is if you properly follow these ‘what to do’ tips:

  • Be sure to carefully look over your dog’s body for fang marks. In some cases there may be more than one bite wound.
  • If your dog’s leg was bitten, snugly wrap the limb with a constricting band just above the bite wound.
  • In a pinch, your shirtsleeve or a piece of fabric could be fashioned into a suitable band.
  • The compression from the band above the wound slows down the spread of venom.
  • As soon as those steps are taken care of, start your trek to the nearest animal hospital.
  • If you are able to catch a glance of the snake, take note of its size, color, and patterns.
  • I know it’s hard to remember numbers these days, but you should always have your vet’s number handy!

If you know of any heroic stories of a dog who was bitten but successfully cared for, PLEASE SHARE. Now I’m wondering how many dogs have successfully hiked the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail (can you tell I just watched Reese Witherspoon’s newest film, WILD)?

The following months will include more tales of trail safety tips, along with our reviews on certain products given to us by our new sponsor Nooga Paws to test out!

As always, thanks for stopping by 🙂

UPDATE: Channel 3 has more to say about this topic: | Chattanooga News, Weather

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