How Rattlesnake Avoidance Training and the Rattlesnake Vaccine in Ukiah, CA Can Keep Your Dog Safe

Most snake bites occur to dogs outside in their backyards, and having dogs outside means that they are more susceptible to being poisoned and hurt by a rattlesnake. How do you protect your dog from rattlesnakes? You can either train them using rattlesnake avoidance training or a rattlesnake vaccine.

dog rattlesnake vaccine ukiah, ca

What is Rattlesnake Avoidance Training?

Rattlesnake avoidance training is a type of training that allows dogs to learn what rattlesnakes are and trains them to stay away. There are many different types of training. Some training courses use shock collars and pain to train dogs to avoid rattlesnakes because they are painful. However, you can also train your dog without shock collars. Professional dog trainers give training courses with fake snakes, noise machines, and positive reinforcement.

Shock Collars

If you are curious about how rattlesnake avoidance training works with shock collars, you have come to the right place! During this training, a professional handles a rattlesnake that does not have its fangs. It exposes your dog to the rattlesnake, so it knows what it looks like, sounds like, and smells like. It is not dangerous since the teeth are removed. However, it can be scary.

In the training session, dogs are shocked by the collars when they approach the snakes. This temporary pain teaches and trains dogs to stay away from rattlesnakes. However, it does not work for all dogs.

Positive Reinforcement

For dog owners that prefer a pain-free training session, there are options that use positive reinforcement. Instead of forcing a rattlesnake on your dog, the positive reinforcement classes use props.

The trained professional uses a device that mimics the scent and smell of rattlesnakes. This way, your dog still is exposed to what the snake looks like, acts like, and smells like. When it identifies which snake is a rattlesnake, your puppy gets a treat.

Phrases and Reactions

Your dog trainer will teach your dog different phrases and reactions to rattlesnakes that will steer them away. These trainings are essential because they can save your dog’s life. Since most attacks occur outside in the backyard, this means that not all pet owners are there to witness it. Snakes also bite really fast and are hard to stop!

How do Rattlesnake Vaccines Work on Dogs?

Rattlesnake vaccines don’t work on all dogs, but the vaccine is approved by veterinarians. They provide this vaccine to dogs that are in areas where they are at a higher risk of being bitten. Rattlesnake bites can be poisonous and fatal, which is why it is important to protect your dog against bites.

Two Doses

Even when dogs live through a rattlesnake bite, they can still withstand permanent damage. Vets have to give this vaccine in two doses. One dose occurs at the beginning of the year, while the other is an annual booster towards the middle of the year.


Like other vaccines, this one introduces antibodies that can fight against or neutralize the venom found in a rattlesnakes bite. However, this is not a cure. Your dog’s vet can’t give your puppy the vaccine if they have already been bitten.

Not Foolproof

It is also important to understand that the serum/vaccine is not foolproof; while it does work and has been tested, some dogs with the vaccine still suffered after being bitten by a rattlesnake. If your dog gets bit by a rattlesnake, you still need to take them to your vet or emergency care. Dogs can still suffer from seizures, shock, and stroke because of the venom.

What Happens if Your Dog Gets Bitten by a Rattlesnake?

You need to know that snakebites are an emergency, especially snakes that have poisonous venom. Your dog will need to go to an emergency vet or animal hospital to receive treatment. Since there are so many different types of rattlesnakes, your dog’s vet will need to run tests to find out which one. There are some types that the vaccine doesn’t work on.

You may notice that your dog’s skin underneath the bite is swelling; this is a normal response but still requires treatment. Always examine your dog for any bites, marks, or parasites after they are done playing outside.


If you live in an area where rattlesnakes are common, your vet may recommend rattlesnake avoidance training and the rattlesnake vaccine. However, not all dogs can get the vaccine. If your dog, for example, has had an allergic reaction to a rattlesnake before, they may not qualify as the vaccine can cause reactions.

Rattlesnake bites can cause nasty infections and reactions that require emergency care right away. The moment you notice any bite marks or strange behaviors in your dog, you should immediately rush them to the emergency vet. While the venom may not be fatal, it can cause permanent damage and severe pain in your lovable pup.

If you have questions about rattlesnake avoidance training or rattlesnake vaccines, please call Mendocino Animal Hospital in Ukiah, CA at (707) 462-8833 or make an appointment online today!

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About Mendocino Animal Hospital

At Mendocino Animal Hospital, we believe in fostering the human-animal bond with excellent veterinary medicine. Our full-service veterinary practice operates in Ukiah, CA with a team of skilled veterinarians and a passionate, talented support staff who make you feel like a part of the family.

As an AAHA-accredited animal hospital, every service and aspect of our practice meets AAHA’s Standards of Excellence. No matter what your pet comes in for, they’ll receive only the best in care, compassion, and service.