There is no doubt that dogs are man’s best friend, but can they be your snake’s best friend? 

While you may question if your dog can get along with your snake, it is entirely possible that they can coexist in the same home.

While peace between species is possible, the key to a safe household is how you go about introducing your pets. 

If you are a dog owner that is considering keeping snakes, this article will ensure you avoid the 5 common mistakes people make when introducing their pets…

5 Mistakes

Not teaching your dog proper obedience commands beforehand

If you plan on introducing your dog to your snake, it will be much safer if your dog is properly trained first. While their training doesn’t have to be perfect, if your dog understands commands like “sit”, “stay” and “Leave It”, it will make for much safer interactions. If your dog becomes too interested, being able to be re-called away before harming your snake is extremely important. 

Introducing your dog and snake too quickly

When you first introduce your snake and dog, it may be the first time either species has come into contact with the other. Your dog is likely to be curious and this can become quickly overwhelming for your snake. If in the first introduction you allow your dog to approach and lick or touch your snake, it can be very distressing. It is always better to start slow and introduce your animals with some distance between them. Keeping your snake in a glass container or behind a screen door can let your pets meet each other and decrease the chances of a stressful encounter. 

Mistaking your dog’s interest as a positive sign

If your dog seems overly excited and interested in your new snake, this may not actually be a good thing. While you may think that this is the start of a beautiful friendship, your dog being too interested may mean that they see your new snake as a toy or a threat. If they think of your reptile as a toy, they could easily be too rough and injure your snake. If your dog perceives the snake as a threat, this could lead to an attack. In either case, if your dog seems highly interested in your snake, try to provide a distraction and refocus your dog’s attention elsewhere. Make your snake seem uninteresting and your dog will likely leave it alone. 

Leaving your dog and snake alone together

A major mistake that people make when introducing their pets is to leave the two animals alone together. Even if your dog and snake seem to tolerate each other, leaving them alone together can be seriously dangerous. Snakes are small and can be easily injured by larger dogs. Dogs can even knock over an unstable snake enclosure and cause injury accidently. You should always make sure your snakes enclosure is secure, that it is out of reach of your dog, and most importantly, never leave your dog and snake alone in a room together. 

Assuming that your dog and snake will be friends

While your dog and snake will have to be able to coexist in your home, its unlikely that they will ever be friends. Snakes, especially some of the common pet snakes like Ball Pythons, are known to be very fearful. Dogs pose a major threat to snakes and the innate differences between dogs and snakes means that building a friendship will likely be impossible. However, that doesn’t mean that these animals can’t coexist peacefully. With ample time and proper supervised interactions, your pets can learn that the other doesn’t necessarily pose a threat. Ideally, after proper socialization, your snake and dog will ignore each other completely. 

Conclusion

Dogs and snakes have been able to get along in households across the world and with the right introductions, it can happen in your home as well. Forcing stressful rushed introductions, misunderstanding your dog’s behavior and leaving your pets alone together are some of the worst ways to ensure a positive encounter between your pets. You should also ensure that your dog is properly trained and understand that there will likely never be a close bond between your pets. 

If you avoid these mistakes, you are on the right track to a calm home where both pets can feel safe and happy. 


About the Author: Nigel Robert is a lifelong reptile lover, biologist and wildlife consultant. He has kept many reptile species including Leopard Geckos and Ball Pythons and has had hundreds of encounters with wild species. His goal is to provide trustworthy and comprehensive advice to anyone who may encounter wild or pet reptiles.