The adder is the UK’s only naturally occurring venomous snake and is most commonly found in sand dunes, rocky hillsides and woodland edges between April and July. They are a protected species meaning it is a criminal offence to kill, harm, injure, sell or trade adders in the United Kingdom. Although typically non-aggressive, they may bite if provoked, stepped on or disturbed by an inquisitive dog, although this is a relatively rare occurrence.
The vast majority of bites occur in the late afternoon when adders are at their most active and due to their inquisitive nature, puppies and young dogs are usually most at risk. Severe pain and localised swelling are the most common clinical signs but, if left untreated, symptoms can include muscle tremors, seizures, collapse and, very occasionally, death. If you do suspect your dog has been bitten by an adder, you should keep calm, minimise their movement by carrying them (if possible), keep them warm and quiet, and get to the nearest vets as quickly as possible.
If treated promptly, over 95% of patients will make a full recovery within five days.