Remedy For Rattlesnake Bite On Dog

Remedy For Rattlesnake Bite On Dog


I‘ve been meaning to share this information for some time, but now that one of my barn cats got snake bit again, I decided to post the remedy I have used several times with success. The animal I’m dealing with was barely grazed in the paw, and is not in serious condition. However, I’ve dealt with five gruesome bites, and I do not believe they would have survived with conventional treatment alone. The treatment I detail below is for dogs, however I’ve also listed what I did for snake bit cats.

What To Do When Your Dog Gets Snake Bit

A few years ago, my border collie got bit in the front leg while we were horseback, about to pen cattle. It was just me and my husband, and we were short handed. About a 1/2 mile from the house my dog started limping badly. I got off and saw a massive bite. This was a BIG snakebite in a bad area, high on the foreleg. Dogs rarely survive a bad bite to the leg. My dog barely made it back to the house. I had to carry her to last stretch, and she weights about 45 lbs.

Rattlesnake Bite Remedy

The life-saving remedy I used is a combination of conventional, and natural medicine. This combination compliments each other amazingly well. Immediately, I gave my dog 3 Benadryl pills, 9cc dexamethasone, and 5cc penicillin. The next step is the key to preventing tissue necrosis. If you’ve ever been around an animal that’s been bit by a rattler, then you know they smell like road kill due to the dying, rotting tissue. That’s is what is so amazing about the next step. You will need the following to make a poultice which will be packed on the area, and bandaged: bacon grease, corn meal, bloodroot tincture and black cohosh tincture (the tinctures can be purchased at many health food stores, or in the link below). Mix those ingredients into a paste and pack on area then bandage. The bandage should NOT be tight. This is an old Native American Indian snakebite remedy. If you life out in rough country where there are lots of poisonous snakes, these tinctures are beneficial to have on hand. The poultice keeps the the tissue from rotting, however it is likely in many cases, that there will be a lot of tissue damage and necrosis. In addition to the bloodroot black cohosh poultice, ichthammol ointment is used to effectively draw pain, and keep the area clean. It is effective in treating bacterial infection. Once the area begins to bust open, pack with ichthammol ointment. This combination will draw out the poison, and heal the tissue. When I used the bloodroot/black cohosh poultice, and then the ichthammol, the tissue had no stench like a normal rattlesnake bite. The wound stayed clean and healed about 4 times faster than the other bites I’ve treated. Trust me, I’ve treated five serious snakes bites, and many non-life threatening snake bites on horses and other livestock. I know what I’m talking about when it comes to treating a rattlesnake bite.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t seek immediate veterinary treatment for your animal. In fact, I highly recommend you seek immediate veterinary care for something as serious as a rattlesnake bite. I offer this remedy only as an alternative. There are many people in rural locations who simply cannot take every animal on their farm or ranch to the vet. For us, and our our location, seeking a vet is not feasible, nor do I think the outcome would have been as good. My animals barely have a scar, and do not have any lingering effects.

Since we have so many rattlesnakes I always stock bloodroot and black cohosh tincture. Before I knew about the poultice, my border collie was bit in the throat. That bite was the slowest healing off the rattler bites I’ve treated. She smelled like a dead animal.

I have dealt with a total of twelve rattlesnake bites on dogs and cats the past eight years. We lost one pup to tetanus about six weeks after he survived a mild snakebite to the head. Normally, the head is the safest place for a dog to get bit.

While your dog is recovering, feed it bacon grease and raw eggs. This is an old timer remedy, I’ve done it, not sure what it does but it does seem to help.

Dexamethasone/Benadryl Dosage

Dexamethasone needs to be tapered down. After I gave my dog an initial does of 9cc ( that’s a stout dose, and she’s a big dog), I tapered to 4-1/2 cc the next morning, and 4-1/2 cc that evening. The day after that, I gave her 4-1/2, then stopped. It’s best to consult your veterinarian about dosage of a steroid such as Dex. Since my border collies wasn’t having any swelling around her face, I did not continue with the Benadryl. If your dog is bit on the face, continue giving benadryl for 2-3 days until the swelling no longer impairs breathing.

Treating Cats

Cats are more resilient to rattlesnake bites than dogs. Cats that are bit on the body vs. leg have a tougher recovery, but both cats shown on this post fully recovered. They were treated with penicillin, the poultice and ichthammol. The cats were not given dex or benydryl. They were also given raw eggs to stimulate their appetite. Raw eggs were the only thing either cat would eat for about a week.


Rattlesnake bites are very nasty. I don’t know how else to put it. The venom causes necrosis, and that’s why penicillin is key. Penicillin is very effective with this type of bacterial invasion. Dex deals with the swelling, and the benadryl keeps them breathing. Benadrly is critical if they get bit in the face. The Native American bloodroot/black cohosh poultice prevents rotting. And finally, a antitoxin tetanus vaccine is critical! Snakes carry tetanus. That was a mistake I made when treating a puppy a few years back. Our small animal vet said the antitoxin tetanus wasn’t necessary, and the pup died of lock jaw! I did not trust my instinct, and did not give the vaccine. The vaccine is readily available at feed, and farm/ranch stores. Do not overlook it!

Buy Ichthammol, Bloodroot & Black Cohosh Tincture

Herb Pharm Herb Pharm Black Cohosh Extract Supplement, 1 Ounce

Herb Pharm Herb Pharm Bloodroot Extract Supplement, 1 Ounce

Ichthammol Ointment 20% – 14oz


Before & After Photos Of Snakebite

Ginger, our former barn cat has fully recovered from two serious snake bites. She has no fear of snakes and will try to kill them, but these snakes were too much for her to handle. She is a full-time house cat now. Diapers make excellent bandages. The ichthammol is messy, but worth the outcome. All that was used on her was penicillin, Ichthammol and the Indian remedy mentioned above. The wound stayed nice and clean. Both cats made a full recovery with barely any scar. Ginger was bitten twice within six months.

  • b eleven

    3/3/16 Lab got tagged on both front paws. Dog was walking slow and saw him side step hesitate then shake his other paw like cactus was in it and continued to walk normally. Noticed swelling 2 hours later, he cried when I moved him. Gave him 2 grams of C and 1/2 a benadryl. Tried to shave area and skin just came off. Gave 2 g of C every 4 hours,(4 days) and 1/2 a benadril 12hrs later with milkthisle every 12 hrs. Mixed C (ascorbic acid) with toothpaste and neosporin, held it on foot with paper towel and stretchy tape. Put a kids sock over it. Bite on other foot seemed dry. Gave him about 200mg Creatine and 400mg Glutamine morning and night. His chest got real jello like then developed hardened areas in the jello area. The masses dissolved late the 3 day and he wees-ed all that night. Now day five he is getting some definition in leg back, he’s playful, and chest swelling is like 1/4 of what it was.

    No rotting smell, scab on area skin came off, only slight favor of leg, foot does not feel hot and just slightly larger than the other.
    Back in town now, any suggestions???

  • Cynthia Likewise

    Our 7 year old coyote mix got her first rattler bite on the face, after growing up here in the Sonoran Desert and walking the washes (arroyos) and off road trails on a regular basis all year long. All of the bite recovery information has been well appreciated. We’re on a mission to educate all of our dog lovers, beginning with neighbors and nearby dog parks, with flyers and photos. This CAN happen to your pet and it is SERIOUS.

  • Amanda C

    What ratio of tincture to cornmeal an fat do you use?

    • Stephanie Revels

      Did you ever get the ration

      • stylishranchgirl

        Hi, sorry for the delay. Use roughly equal amounts. It was a putty-like consistency.

  • Stephanie Revels

    How much of each of the rations did you put together? I have two dogs that right now so I just went out and bought everything just needing me know how much of each to put together.

    • stylishranchgirl

      Hi, sorry for the delay. Did your dogs get bit, or you just want to keep on hand? I would not mix anything until you need it. Just mix until you have a putty-like consistency. I used a dropperful of each tincture. You don’t need too much fat, just enough to keep it all together.

      • Donna Arteaga-Munoz

        My dog just got bit on the would you recommend applying this mixture? How soon should I start it? I wasnt able to find any puncture wounds to confirm it was a a snake other than her symptoms. She had the same symptoms as my other dog did when she got bit.

  • Cristina Garza

    My bulldog puppy just got bit by a rattlesnake I couldn’t afford the anti venom but they gave him penicillin and cortisone shots. I’ve tried looking for the ingredients you mentioned and can’t find them anywhere close to where I live . Any other suggestions? He’s just laying there crying.

    • admin

      I’m so sorry for the delay. Did he survive?

  • Cristina Garza

    I think he got bit twice but he won’t let me touch it its oozing out blood still.

    • Gretchen Roach

      Try giving him some Benedryl to take out the will also help him rest a little hopefully. Sometimes you have to make them do something for their own good…but dont get bit..Also, raw egg and lard is something that will help stomach and help process poison through system. HE needs to keep clam – heart rate needs to be a low as can be so poison doesnt travel fast.

  • Monica Artavia Blut

    My 1 year old black lab is 1week post a rattlesnake bite to the neck. She has a raw gaping hole of flesh where the skin fell off in the bite area on her neck- do you think the ichthammol ointment will still be helpful at this point? Do I just pack it in the hole? Thanks so much:)

    • Gretchen Roach

      Dont PACK…keep the area clean whatever you put on it. Infection is something that can kill them as well. The Grease and egg is a good thing to feed your puppy as well as the benedryl.

  • Theresa Romero

    If i can’t find the Ichthammol ointment can i use anything else in it’s place ?

  • wirdbird

    Red bone hound bit by rattlesnake on side of face and side of neck. The other dog was bit on top of the nose. Took them to the vet and he gave them shots of benadryl, cortisone and an antibiotic. Gave me antibiotics to give once a day to each dog. The red bone died last night. The other dog’s face is swollen so much her eyes are closed and weeping. Would betonite clay on her face help?

    • admin

      Oh no!! How sad! I’m so sorry. I can’t believe the vet did not give him dex. Bentonite won’t help much, but PF Wonder Salve will help with the pain and swelling. I would def. keep her on Benedryl. Cortisone is like a boby aspirin compared to dex. Also, ichthammol will help, but that’s a hard area to pack on. The ichthammol will draw.

    • wirdbird

      The hound died the next day. The smaller dog survived, but was in bad shape for several days. I put DMSO on her face, and all it did was make her face swell even more. I heard from a friend that benadryl would help, so I gave her a small dose of that and stopped using the DMSO. She is fine now, back to her old self.

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