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By Dawn Celapino


July 11, 2010 (San Diego's East County)--Take severe caution when walking your dog on the trails this summer! Make sure you always keep your dog on a tight leash, and try to avoid allowing them to sniff in tall grass and bushes. Rattlesnakes can be found on or near trails taking in the sun and won’t hesitate to attack if surprised by your furry friend.

Rattlesnakes are cold-blooded creatures, so they can often be found in the open during the late spring to early fall period, so you will want to be safe during this time. It is not instinct for these snakes to be overtly aggressive, but if they feel threatened, they won’t hesitate to attack. Younger snakes are extremely dangerous as they haven’t learned to control the amount of venom they release with their bite.

If you run into a rattlesnake on the trail, back away slowly. The snake will usually warn you with it’s rattle before striking. It’s uncommon, but rattlesnakes don’t have to be coiled to strike. If bitten, keep the wound low and still. Running around and panicking will only increase your blood flow and the spread of the venom. Try to seek medical attention as quickly as possible. It is recommended to stay close to civilization and never wonder onto a trail alone. Always have your cell phone on you at all times. If your dog is attacked, keep your dog calm and seek out veterinary attention immediately.

Remember, be safe on the trails this summer. There are a lot of dangers and it would be smart to be prepared!

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Dawn Celapino is a fitness trainer with She has taught yoga, kickboxing, boot camp & sculpting classes in corporate, outdoor & residential settings. Dawn loves to run, hike, mountain & road bike, kayak, swim, surf, & yoga. As long as her Cairn Terrier, Jack, is with her, she is happy.

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