As you know in my last post on “Dogs and Toads” I mentioned that I saw a small Garter Snake in our yard. Well this time I thought I would prepare myself on a potential hazard since I know that Meesha will want to see what this long slithery creature is all about!
Since dogs like Meesha do not know the difference between safe things to play with and harmful things, as responsible owners we need to prepare ourselves with knowledge to help our pets. Meesha is only interested when she figures that something wants to play with her or that thing is a play thing like a toy. In this case a wiggly snake sure makes things a little more interesting. Now how does she catch it and what will she do with it? That is the question.
Garter Snakes Description
Garter snakes are thin snakes, about 2 or 3 feet long, they have yellow, white or red stripes running the length of their bodies. Their stripes are flanked by spots in a checkered pattern. If you and your dog spend a lot time outdoors like we do, don’t be surprised if you come across one of these slithery creatures. They are quite common in North America, mainly found in backyards, grasslands, wetlands and forests.
Garter Snakes and your Dog
Garter snakes are considered mildly venomous. This means a bite from one could cause irritation, but shouldn’t be serious. If your dog has an encounter with a garter snake, their reaction will depend on what they did to the snake. Did your dog just lick it, bite or actually kill and ingest the snake!
If your dog did not ingest any part of the snake, then they should be fine. Garter snakes emit a pungent musk to ward off predators, so don’t be surprised if your dog experiences mild symptoms, such as gagging, swelling or salivating from their encounter with the snake. If your dog swallowed the snake or shows more harsh reactions, give your veterinarian a call to make sure there’s nothing to be concerned about.
As a note, Garter Snakes don’t tend to bite, however if you suspect your dog was bitten, in general the bite is not harmful. Clean the area, watch for any reactions. If you’re still not sure, always call your veterinarian.
Garter snakes are very common all over North America. Since they are found in our backyard, forests and parks, your dog will eventually come across one. If your dog is anything like our Meesha you can bet on your pup testing the grounds and investigating this new found creature.
This post is strictly about the Garter snake. There are hundreds of species snakes that can be found in many places. If you’re unsure of the type of snake your dog had a tangle with, bringing it along with your dog to the veterinarian will help in diagnosing any reactions. Arming yourself with knowledge of the types of snakes in your area will certainly help in you helping your dog.
Happy spring… if you have a story of your dog’s enthusiastic meet and greet with a snake, please share it with us. The joy of dogs and garter snakes!
22 Responses to “Dogs and Garter Snakes.. another everyday yard encounter”
July 11, 2019
Guys, my beautiful 85lb female German Shepherd was just barking fiercely in the back yard: 🙆: I went out and she was at the tree barking at something: ” I Investiigated & saw a 2ft garden snake ” not sure of the color, but I think it was maybe Grey?? anyway she was Jumping & trying to grab the Snake: I got a long stick & tried to .I’ve it: I think she/ shook it: IT WENT Away:. But don’t know if it bite her: She’s in the house, what to do.
Wow, Garter snakes seem to be on the rise. I’m not sure where you are located but there seems to be many species and types of snakes. Unfortunately I’m not a snake master but can only recount the stories that my dogs and area have encountered. I hope your Guy was fine in the end.
My male, 5yr. Old German Shephard is very protective of his mommy with anything. But lately, the garter snakes have been in our yard. He so far has captured 2, and with both, he shook them violently until they were dead. Once the snake stopped moving, he moved it out of the way from me and left it alone. Hell, just now a 3 footer one just fell down from above the front door, and he whined until it dropped cause he couldn’t reach that high. Once he killed it, he did his pee and 💩and came back up on the porch and is laying next to me. He doesn’t eat them. If ur German didn’t eat it and only shook it like my goofers does, then she will be just fine love.
I believe my cat tried to lick or mess with a checkered garter snake. He was outside for a few minutes then came to the door drooling with his eyes shut. We washed his face off with a wet towel and his right eye was swollen. Symptoms wore off within 20 minutes or so. Keeping an eye on him for the next 24 hours.
My pup was bit by a garter snake.. ( not sure if it broke skin or not ) now she has a big pink bald spot where she was bit, and it’s been awhile but it doesn’t look like the hairs going to grow back … it isn’t bec she’s scratching it either . I know they’re not poisonous, but I would have expected to see regrowth by now . I used polysporin on it . any thoughts ? Could the venom be that much of an irritant ??? Thank you for any advice you might have, or sharing similar experiences .
Hi There.. How is your pup doing? I hope that she is doing much better and you had her checked out by a vet. If you have a minute, please let us know what the vet said.
My wife yelled that our rescue Golden Retriever had a snake cornered in the dogs fenced in yard. When i got out there Babe was dancing all around the snake ( Garter Snake) if i recognized it correctly. She was woofing the whole time she was dancing.
We decided to just get snake out of fenced area so we got a rake and removed it. The whole time The snake was trying to attack me.
We checked Babe over to see if she was bitten and found no blood or wounds.
I know Garter Snakes are a so called good snake but next time i will not take a chance of it hurting my dog. We have noticed several snakes in our yard, back porch etc. We have tolerated them up until now.
Hi John.. Perhaps you can let our readers know where you are located ie province or city. Garter Snakes seem to be taking on a different personally of a mild mannered snake. However that said I also understand that there a many types of snakes out there and I for one can only write about the stories of my pups/dogs adventures. I hope that Babe is doing well and you had her looked at by a veterinarian.
My chihuahua/terrier has decided that he likes to kill garter snakes…he finds them on our walks and in our backyard. I’m not happy about this new habit but I can’t seem to find a way to knock down his prey drive.
Hi Erin.. I completely understand that. Our Meesha has the same habit! Thanks for leaving a comment..Liz
I came home today to discover this nearly two foot quite fat garter snake in my bedroom on the floor. Not sure if it was my cats or the dogs that actually did the damage but it was nearly dead. I was in shock it was even still in one peice. My cats all seem fine, dogs too. Although one of them is acting a bit lethargic. It’s not unusual for her however. She has some tummy issues. They didnt eat it as you can see it’s in one peice but it did have some puncture wounds and left a bloody mess. I checked all my babies over and everyone is clean and clear thankfully.
Wow.. I feel for you.. I’m not not big snake fan! So happy to hear all your fur babies are fine!
My cattle dog mix killed a garter snake. A few puncture wounds. He seems a bit off, eating fine but not as active. Is this normal?
You wrote to me in May about your dog.. I truly hope that you went and visited a Veterinarian by now. As I am not a Vet or Vet Tech .. I can only hope that someone with more knowledge has been able to help you…Liz
Our dog found a snake in the grass and gave it a good shake in her mouth. She was dripping saliva out of her mouth for a few minutes, but seems to be okay now. Wood Village, Oregon
Wow that is some snake.. happy to hear your pooch is doing well..Liz
So do you have any tips on having a pet snake… I have a cat ( kind of set back)
Unfortunately not specifically on snakes
We have 3 small dogs…4.4 lbs to 12 lbs. We have at least 1 garter snake. I always thought they were a good snake to have in the yard. Now that I see that they have any venom at all, I worry about our little dogs in case they are bitten. They are so tiny. Years ago I had a Cairn Terrier that thought she was a Pit Bull when it came to defending her family and domain. She was also an excellent mouser! LOL she didn’t eat her prey, but would kill instantly and drop. If I was unable to go outside with her, I would attach her collar to a chain in the front yard that would allow her a potty break. I didn’t like to leave her chained up long. So, I went to go get her. .just in time to see her grab a snake just behind the head and shake it until dead. She then threw the dead snake out into the street. I went to investigate….it was a copperhead!! She was fearless…not at all your prissy little lapdog. Solid muscle. Such a good dog, I really miss her!
Hi Rita.. sounds like you had one great dog!
I chopped up a garter snake who made its home where my dogs sit. I did not get all the pieces & my dog ate one. He threw up & has diarhea. He finally ate & drank but is still just laying around. Trying to reach vet to make sure he will be ok.
Hi Cindy. Thank you for sharing! I hope your dog is doing better now..Liz