Our client dogs (and their owners) love the open fields and play spaces of our three Dogdayz locations – a ‘country’ holiday whilst still in metropolitan Melbourne. But our rural environment also brings the responsibility of protecting our guests from ‘locals’ – most obviously: snakes.
In almost 20 years of operation we have never had a case of snake-bite or even of dogs being anywhere near a snake – but that doesn’t mean we let down our guard, even for a minute. Our clients have an understandable need to ask, and know, how we protect against the risk of snake-bite:
Q: How can you be sure there are no snakes on the property?
A: We can’t – in fact we assume that there are. We go looking for them. Each morning in ‘Snake Season’ we conduct a check of yards and fence lines etc. before letting the dogs out to play, plus regular checks throughout the day as part of constant supervision.
Q: Have you ever found a snake?
A: Yes, but this is surprisingly rare: I think a total of five over almost 20 years. That’s an average of one every four years. This is remarkably low given usual snake numbers in outer urban areas (see below) and also given that we are actively looking for them. Having previously dealt with snakes in other situations I am inclined to think that the presence of multiple dogs on site, as here at Dogdayz, may be a factor in discouraging snakes.
Q: If you were to find a snake, how would you deal with the situation?
A: All staff have a clear routine to follow when needed: making sure all dogs are well away from the affected area. As soon as possible, the snake is relocated where it cannot return to harm dogs (or people).
Q: But what can be done if a dog were to be bitten?
A: At all our sites we have immediate access to veterinarians and anti-venom – but this is one case where prevention is definitely far better than cure.
Snakes are a fact of life not only in outer urban areas but also in suburbs quite close to the centre of Melbourne. …….Veterinarians at the University of Melbourne (Drs. Boller and Kellers) have recently launched a ‘Snakemap’ showing the locations of snakebite involving pets.
Symptoms of snakebite can vary but may include: lethargy, vomiting, a notably anxious demeanour with spasmodic ‘twitchy’ movements. If you even think your dog may have been bitten by a snake, it would be best not to delay in seeking veterinary treatment. The relatively small body mass of most dogs means that the snake toxin acts quickly and can rapidly lead to a fatality.
A recent guest at Silvan Dogdayz, we have little Coco, The Wonder Dog, who in her young life has survived two snake bites (at her own home!)
Ah Coco, you are a wonder (and very lucky that your owners could act as quickly as they did) – but how about you take up chasing balls instead?
Our daily routine at Dogdayz, qualified staff on hand 24/7, and access to 24 hour vet care are essential elements of our strategy to manage snakebite risk. Gratefully we have never had a snake bite incident – and we plan to keep it that way!