Precautions to greatly reduce the chance of an unpleasant rattlesnake encounter:
Always keep your dog leashed and near you on the main trail.
Since the main trail is typically clear of shrubbery and other potential rattlesnake hiding places, this is the safest place for you and your pet. Don’t allow your pet to wander off leash or off the main path. Some dogs are bitten just a couple feet from the trail.
Just because you don’t see a rattlesnake, doesn’t mean they aren’t around. Actively scan the path in front of you always, regardless of where you are. Rattlesnakes notoriously show up in places other than hiking trails, such as backyards, roadways and residential areas. Also scan the areas surrounding your path - it's common for rattlesnakes to nestle in the shrubbery that lines pathways and when threatened, they can lunge up to half their body length.
Know where to go.
Always have a list of nearby veterinarians, specialty hospitals and 24-hour clinics. If there’s a hiking trail, dog park or running path that you and your pet frequent, have a list of care centers near those places as well.
Know “the season” and acknowledge that the threat is always real.
While rattlesnake bites can happen all year-round, snakebite season spans April through September in San Diego, when the temperatures are warmer and snakes come out to sunbathe. Take extra precaution when outdoors with your pet during this time.
Have health insurance for your pet.
It is encouraged that all pet parents to have health insurance on their pets. Policies are affordable but vary widely so be sure to read the fine print and make sure snake bites are covered in your policy.
Quick LinksWhat to Do If You Are Bitten by a Rattlesnake San Diego Humane Society's Training Partners Coexist with Rattlesnakes Photo Index of California's Snakes Rattlesnake Sounds
Published: May 3, 2021