Snake Bite Safety & Prevention Tips

If you frequently hike or otherwise enjoy the great outdoors with your pet, please take care to prevent painful encounters with snakes. Bites occur most often in between March and October when snakes are most active. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), a snake bite is always considered an emergency—a venomous snake bite can be fatal if not treated immediately, and even a bite from a nonvenomous snake can be dangerous for your pets.

The APCC would like to offer the following tips for snake bite safety around pets:

Avoid chance encounters with snakes:

  • Keep your yard tidy by clearing away undergrowth, toys and tools that make great hiding places for snakes.
  • Keep walkways clear of brush, flowers and shrubs.
  • Clean up any spilled food, fruit or bird seed, which can attract rodents—and therefore snakes—to your yard.
  • When walking your pet, keep him on a leash.
  • Steer your pet clear of long grasses, bushes and rocks.
  • Snakes can strike across a distance equal to about half their body length. If you see a snake, head back the way you came.
  • Familiarize yourself with snakes who are common in your area. In the event of a bite, identifying the type of snake may help with your pet’s treatment.

Recognize snake bite symptoms:

  • Local or general swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Intense pain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dead tissue around the wound
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Renal failure

What to do if you think your pet’s been bitten:

  • Remember to stay calm.
  • Keep your pet calm, too, by limiting his activity.
  • If your pet was bitten on the neck, remove his collar.
  • If possible, keep the location of the bite below heart level.
  • Seek veterinary care for your pet immediately.
  • Treatment options such as cold packs, ice, tourniquets, alcohol, bleeding the wound and trying to suck out venom should not be attempted in place of getting your pet to the vet—they may just waste precious time.
  • Always keep your personal safety in mind and do not try to catch or kill a snake yourself.
  • Even if you think a snake is dead, never handle him. Some dead snakes are capable of inflicting a bite by muscle contractions.

Purina Veterinary Diet Food

Does your pet struggle with weight management problems? Summer can be a difficult time for overweight pets, because they may be even more uncomfortable in the heat than a pet of a healthy weight would be. At Northside Animal Hospital, we offer Purina Veterinary Diets® OM Overweight Management® food, which offers dietary benefits that provide optimal nutrition while meeting your adult dog’s special needs. We can help you get your pet start on a proper nutritional diet as well as a daily exercise regiment.

Pets & Heatstroke

Summer is almost here, and that means the weather is going to start getting hot! Remember to keep your pet nice and cool this summer to avoid the dangers of heatstroke. Animals and people are susceptible to heatstroke, and it can be caused by overexertion and lack of proper hydration in hot weather. We recommend giving your pet a cool place to relax—with plenty of breezes, or even a/c—and plenty of fresh water to drink. And don’t forget: never, ever leave your pet in the car in the summer! Just leave them home where they’ll be more comfortable.

Top 10 Things To Do Before Your Bring Your New Cat Home

Congratulations, the cat’s out of the bag! You’ve just entered into a wonderful relationship that’s bound to be filled with fun and affection. By starting off on the right foot—that is, by being well-prepared for your new arrival—you can move through that rocky adjustment period most new relationships go through and get right down to the lovin’!

1. Make Sure Everyone In The House Is Prepared To Have A Cat

Talk to your family members before bringing a new cat home. Make sure everyone knows that the fun begins only after kitty feels safe and her needs are met. Once you’re sure everyone is ready for feeding, litter changing and grooming, you can divvy up chores among family members so everyone is prepared to care for kitty before she arrives.

2. Do You Know What Your Cat Is Trying To Tell You?

The average cat has a vocabulary of more than 16 different sounds, including purring, howling, hissing and meowing—not to mention a wide-range of playful and serious body language. Taking a glance at our Cat Care section will help you understand your cat’s behavior before you’re faced with her mysterious cat calls, pouncing and nocturnal romps.

3. Stock Up On Supplies Before Kitty Arrives

Have all of your cat’s needs ready so she can get right down to the business of making herself at home. Kitty will need:

  • A litter box and the brand of litter she’s been using
  • Food and water bowls and the food she’s used to eating
  • A sturdy, rough-textured scratching post—at least three feet high—that allows her to stretch completely while scratching
  • Safe, stimulating toys. Hint: If you give her toys that make noises, you’ll know when she’s playing.
  • A bed lined with a soft, warm blanket or towel
  • Grooming tools: a high-quality brush and nail clipper are a good start

4. Identity Is Key

Proper identification is a necessity. If your kitty is indoors-only, an ID tag or implanted microchip will help ensure she’ll be returned to you if she gets out and can’t find her way home. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. We caution against letting cats outdoors, but if you do—or if a window or door is left open—a safety collar and an ID tag may be what bring your missing cat home.

5. A Room Of One’s Own

Choose a low-traffic room your kids and other pets don’t frequent—this will be your cat’s safe space to sniff, eat, scratch and play while she gets her bearings. Arrange her food and water bowls, bed and litter box—and scatter her toys around. You can even clean off a windowsill for her and have soft music playing. She’ll appreciate the chance to feel out her new family from inside her haven.

6. Routine Behavior

Give your cat a little structure to lean on. For the first few weeks, provide him with the same kind of food and feeding schedule he had before living with you—and give him the same brand of litter, too, for a familiar scent and feel on his paws. Later on, if you wish to switch to different products, you can make a slow transition.

7. What’s New, Pussycat?

With a whole new life in store for her, Kitty will need some time and space to check out her surroundings and all of her new play things. Give her time alone in her room to get comfortable before you come in to play with her. If you have other pets, it’s a good idea to leave your new cat in her own room for a few days will allow the other animals in the house to get used to her sounds and scent. (Hint: Watch from the door to see how she leaves her carrier. Whether she pussyfoots into a dark corner or zooms out into the room, you’ll know how she feels about her new surroundings.)

8. Introducing Kitty To The Pack

Go slow at first. A cat may need seven to fourteen days to relax into her new environment. If you have kids, let them introduce themselves one at a time. Hold up on the meet-and-greets with friends, neighbors and relatives until your kitty is eating and eliminating on a normal schedule. If you have other pets, don’t let your new addition have free run of the house. This is the territory of the animals who have lived with you already. Allow all of your pets to meet in the new cat’s territory—and make sure you’re there to supervise.

9. Cat-Proof Your Home

When your cat is ready to explore the rest of her new home (for short excursions at first), be sure to get rid of stray items she might chew on or swallow, like toilet paper, tissues and paper towels. Pens and pencils may need to be kept in drawers. You may also have to tape wires to baseboards and put caps on outlets.
Put away harsh cleaning products, human medications and household poisons, and rehome any houseplants that might be toxic to her. Make sure foods that aren’t healthy for a cat’s tummy are placed securely out of reach.

10. Visit The Vet Within Her First Week

Last but not least, bring your new feline to a caring veterinarian for a wellness exam within one week after adoption. Make this appointment even before you bring your kitty home.