PET owners are being warned to be on the lookout for snakes after a beloved dog was left fighting for its life following an adder bite.

Helen Wood, 60, of Ardleigh, Basildon feared her son’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Boss might die after it was set upon by the poisonous snake while out walking in woodland near Lee Chapel Lane, Basildon.

The young pooch was bitten in the leg by the adder and became faint after the airways in its throat started to swell up from the onset of the venom.

Ms Wood’s partner, Max Liberson, 56, didn’t have a second to think and scooped up the dog in his arms before running a mile back to the car and driving to the nearest vet for emergency care.

Ms Wood said: “It was so scary. I feel terribly responsible, it was awful. The snake just came out of no-where, we didn’t even notice it because it was all curled up. At first we didn’t realise Boss had been bitten because there was no bite mark so we thought he had just stepped on the snake’s head.

“Then he started getting all woozy like he was going to sleep so we knew something was wrong. We just grabbed him rushed to the car and it wasn’t until he was seen by the vet that we knew he was poisoned and needed anti-venom.”

The adder is the only poisonous snake known to live in the UK.

Although they are not normally aggressive, they will their venom as a defence mechanism if they are caught or trodden on.

Ms Wood added: “We take the dog walking through there all the time and of course we know there is wildlife over there like foxes and badgers and things but it just doesn’t register that you should be on alert for snakes.

“I think warning signs should be put up maybe to make pet owners more aware and to be on their guard.

“But the vets were absolutely brilliant in treating him. They saw him straight away and we so good with him. We’re so grateful to them.”

Boss was taken to Cherrydown Vets in Cherrydown West, Basildon and given a range of steroids and anti-venom and is expected to make a full recovery.

Shawn Plunkett, assistant manager the surgery, said: “Because Boss was brought in to us so quickly it will reduce the chance of any long term effects from the bite. Adder bites are painful, often cause swelling but in rare instances if left untreated, can result in clotting defects, kidney failure and even death.

“With the start of the warmer weather dog walkers need to keep an eye out for snakes in the undergrowth or basking on paths.”