Published: 19 April 2021

Unfortunately some dogs will get bitten by adders when out exploring on walks. You can tell whether a snake is an adder by looking at our earlier blog post.

If you fear your dog has been bitten, check for these signs of an adder bite:

You may notice some of the following in your dog:

  • Localised swelling that is often dark coloured and can become severe.
  • Possibly 2 small puncture wounds in the centre of the swelling. Bites most commonly occur on a dog’s legs or face.
  • Limping (if bitten on the leg).
  • Signs of pain and may appear nervous.
  • Pale mucous membranes (gums).
  • Bruising.
  • Salivation/dribbling.
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea.
  • Dehydration.
  • Restlessness.
  • Drowsiness and lethargy.

What should I do?
Seek veterinary attention quickly if your dog is bitten. Carry your dog (rather than allow him to walk) to try and reduce the spread of venom around his body. Bathe the wound in cold water to help control the swelling and keep your dog quiet and warm as you transport him to the veterinary hospital.

Treatment includes pain relief, treatment of swelling and shock and, in some cases, anti-venom if available. Most cases survive with appropriate treatment. Call ahead to your vet and let them know you are coming.

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