What To Do If A Copperhead Snake Bites Your Dog?

  • By: Reptilia Planet
  • Time to read: 9 min.

A copperhead snake is a type of venomous snake that can be found in North America and live in the ground and are non-aggressive, but they will bite if threatened.

So it’s important for you to keep an eye out when your dog goes outside to play. If the dog becomes a threat to the copperhead snake it will attach to protect itself.

If you live in an area that has Copperhead Snakes, then chances are pretty good that your dog will come into contact with one. So what should you do if your dog gets bitten by a copperhead snake?

If your dog does get bitten by a copperhead snake you should keep your pet calm and seek veterinary care straight away! If the bite goes untreated it can make them sick or could eventually lead to their death.

Copperhead snakes are one of the deadliest in North American, and knowing what to do after your dog is bitten by a copperhead snake is important and could save your dog’s life.

In this post, we’ll go over some tips on how to protect your dogs from a snake bite. We will discuss what happens after they get bit and will give helpful advice for identifying their wounds as well as treating your dog for these pesky bites!

What To Do If Your Dog Is Bitten By A Copperhead Snake?

Copperhead snake venom can react differently in dogs than humans and while we might only see mild symptoms like pain or swelling at the start of the bite, there could be more severe reactions that show up later on if untreated.

The copperhead snake is one of the most dangerous types to have around and a bite can be fatal for dogs, especially if it’s a smaller breed.

If you discover your dog has a bite from a copperhead snake then we recommend you taking your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. By not treating the bite it can cause bacterial infections especially in small breeds which could lead to death.

According to the Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), they recommended never to give your dog any medications or even try to treat the snake bite yourself.


Venom from Copperhead snakes can be fatal to dogs and when the venom is injected into the bloodstream, it will start to cause more symptoms as it travels through the dog’s body.

At this point, it’s important to try and keep yourself and your dog calm and not stressed. If your dog is stressed then its heart will beat faster and as a result, the venom will move through the dog’s bloodstream at a faster rate.

You should have someone drive you to the vet so you can hold your dog the entire time, this will help keep your dog calm.

“Copperhead bites in dogs are serious and need to be taken to a vet straight away”

Once your dog is been seen by a veterinarian and depending on how bad the snake bite is the (CVM) states the types of treatment your dog will need to treat the bite.

“The recommended treatment ultimately depends on the severity of the bite, but most cases are treated with IV fluids to address shock, pain medications, and monitoring,” Hindmarsh said.  “Antivenom is readily available but is not always indicated for every snake bite.”


If you do find the copperhead snake where your dog was bitten never take it to the vets with you even if it’s dead. If your not sure what type of snake it is simply take a photo and show it to the veterinarian when you arrive.

Snake bites should always be treated by a veterinarian, however, if you live in a remote area you can treat the snake bite yourself just until you get to the vet.

As we know snakes has fangs so somewhere on your dogs body will be a bite mark. It should’nt be that hard to find as you dog will be trying to clean the area by licking it.

Once you have found the bite you can gently dab the area with a damp cloth and then wrap the bite to stop the dog from licking the wound.

” It’s not recommend that you use tourniquet or try to suck the venom out before consulting with your veterinarian”


It’s also not recommended that you give your dog medication like “Benadryl” without speaking to your vet which you can do over the phone.

If you medicate your dog before you see the vet they might not be able to give your dog the correct treatment because of the fear of mixing medications.


Most people know that if you get bitten by a snake there’s not much you can do about it except take your dog to the vet, but what many don’t realize is that Benadryl can be used for poisonous snake bites.

Giving your dog Benadryl is a great way to make them more comfortable and will also help with the pain. Now, this isn’t a cure or antidote! but it can make your dog feel better just until you see a veterinarian.

You see histamine is a type of chemical that is found in the dog’s body and in order to help relieve the symptoms associated with an excess of histamine, from the snake bite you can give them Benadryl.

Benadryl also has antihistaminic properties because it helps calm down these acid effects and provides relief from allergic reactions. However, as mentioned you shouldn’t give your dog Benadryl without first consulting with your veterinarian.

Recovery Time

Copperhead bites in dogs can range from a few days of recovery to seven weeks, however, the time it takes for your dog to fully recover depends on the age and overall health of your dog.

By taking your dog to the vet as soon as possible following a bite from a copperhead, recovery can be just a few days!

It is possible that the snake bite could lead to permanent scars or issues later in life if not taken care of properly by professionals who can give you guidance during this process.

What Are The Symptoms of a Copperhead Bite in A Dog?

A Copperhead snake bite can be fatal for your dog if not treated quickly. Dogs are susceptible to the venomous bites of snakes and will display symptoms that indicate they’ve been bitten by a snake.

The severity of these symptoms depends on where it was bit, how large their size is compared to the snake who attacked them, as well as other factors such as weather or time spent outside in between attacks from this type of reptile.

If your dog has been hit near its face or neck region with enough force due to swelling; there may also be an obstruction in breathing which could lead to death!

Some common symptoms of copperhead bites include nausea, vomiting, reduced heart rate (bradycardia), difficulty breathing (dyspnea), and swelling near the bite.

You might also notice that your dogs gums have turned white or blue as well as increased saliva production due to anxiety caused by pain.

(Symptoms Of Copperhead Snake bite In A Dog)

Immediate Symptoms:

  • Swelling near the bite
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Increased saliva
  • Anxiety

Gradual Symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Paralysis
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

How to Prevent A Copperhead Snake Biting Your Dog?

Losing a pet to a snakebite is something you never want. You may be able to avoid it by taking care of your garden and keeping an eye on the paths around where you dog tends to play.

Copperhead snakes like long grass so make sure you mow your lawn often, and trim any shrubs that could make an ideal hiding spots.

Dogs are naturally curious and if they see a copperhead or any other snake for that matter they might go after it or try to play it. So you should make sure to keep your property well-maintained.

Since we can’t always get rid of all the places copperheads live especially when out walking with your dog you should avoid going near any bushes or tall plants where copperhead snakes might be hiding.

How To Identify a Copperhead In Case it Bites Your Dog?

If you live in a snake-heavy area, it can be hard to tell which type of snake is native and which ones aren’t. The copperhead is one that’s commonly found across North American US due to their high numbers.

However, there are other snakes that do look similar to a copperhead and knowing what type of snake that bites your dog can definitely give you the advantage in treating the bite effectively.

Copperheads usually have a yellowish-brown color and brown or black bands across the body. Some have a light, reddish hourglass-shaped pattern and a heart-shaped head.

These snakes are born with bright yellow tail that they used to lure their prey “but” the yellow color does tend to fade as they get older!

As before, If your dog is bitten by a snake and your not sure weather or not it is a copperhead snake then you should take a photo if it and show your vet so they can provide the correct treatment.

Other Venomous Snakes That May Bite Your Dog

The United States has about 21 species of venomous snakes. Some are more dangerous than others, but they all have the power to kill you or your dog if given an opportunity.

If you’re not sure if your snake is poisonous or not, there’s no need to panic below is a list of snakes that are venomous and typically live in the same areas as the copperhead snake.

  • The Black Diamondback Rattlesnake is a type of venomous snake found in the Western half of North America. They usually reside in places like British Columbia and Mexico, so you’re at risk if you live there or visit that region.
  • The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is the most lethal of all snakes in Mexico. Though its venom isn’t as potent, it releases twice as much and has been responsible for about half of reported snake-related deaths.
  • The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is arguably one of the largest venomous snakes of all North American Its fangs are unusually large, and it has a very potent venom that can cause cardiac arrest or even death.
  • The Timber Rattlesnake can be found nearly anywhere in North America but thrives mostly in wooded areas like forests and swamps. However, They are known for their mild temperament and characteristic rattle.
  • The Tiger Rattlesnake only lives in a small area near the Arizona-Mexico border and few bites have been documented. The small amount of venom it injects per bite also means that fatalities are very rare.
  • The Cottonmouth Snake is greatly feared in North America and is well known for Its powerful cytotoxic venom that can eat away flesh which can lead to amputations, however, the fatalities are very low.
  • The Eastern Coral is a venomous snake that are very shy and is very rarely seen in public and are considered to be non-aggressive, they will only strike if provoked or threatened.


Just remember if your dog is bitten by a copperhead snake the main thing is to stay calm and get your dog to see a veterinarian as soon as possible don’t delay.

If there is anything you are unsure of then you should ring your vet either before you leave the house or when your on the way. Make sure you take everything you need including Benadryl just in case your vet tells you it’s ok to give it to them.

A snake bite can be a life-threatening injury for your pet and should be treated as such. If you have seen your dog get bitten, or even if you suspect that they might have been bitten, make sure you act quickly to help them!

Try to identify the type of snake that bit your dog if you can! This will help the vets an idea and decide about what kind of treatment they need.

Once you know what type of snake bit them, call their vet right away so they can determine how best to treat your dog. By following these tips in this article can definitely increase your dog’s chances of survival.