When it comes to surviving a venomous snake bite, cats really do have more lives than dogs.
Dogs are twice as likely to die from blood clots from venomous snake bites than cats, according to a University of Queensland study.
Every year, the Australian eastern brown snake accounts for 76 per cent of domestic pet snake bites.
Without anti-venom treatment, only 31 per cent of dogs survive a snake bite compared with 66 per cent for cats. With anti-venom, 40 to 50 per cent of dogs survive compared with 80 per cent of cats.
"We looked at the types of venom that activate clotting. With dogs, their blood naturally clots much quicker than cats," University of Queensland study group leader Associate Professor Bryan Fry told AAP.
"Venomous snake bites can either produce large blood clots and the animal dies of a stroke or it can produce millions of tiny blood clots and the animal bleeds out."
Researchers are unsure why dogs' blood clots faster than cats' but Prof Fry believes it could have been an evolutionary trait where dogs' ancestors were getting injured more often during hunting and needed to clot their wounds quicker.
"Whatever the reason of why they've evolved like that, it's become their Achilles heel when it comes to snake bites that activate blood clotting," he said.
The study also found behavioural differences between the two animals contributed to dogs being more likely to die from a venomous snake bite.
"Dogs explore with their mouths and are more likely to get bitten on the face and muzzle. These areas contain lots of blood vessels for the venom to enter the body much faster," Prof Fry said.
"Cats explore with their paws so they're going to be bitten on their feet and legs, and the venom absorbs slower from there."
Dogs tend to be more active than cats and that has also come back to bite them as the best practice when bitten by a snake is to remain still to slow the spread of venom through the body.
If a pet is bitten, owners should apply first aid and a pressure bandage to the area, and take the animal to a vet as quickly as possible.
"It's a case of where time is of the absolute essence and any delay is going to result in a very poor outcome," Prof Fry said.
Australian Associated Press