Wild animals can be predators and a nuisance, but they still deserve respect since they’re an important part of the ecosystem and are just trying to survive. Wildlife can be dangerous to our dear pets, but coexistence is possible.
Dog owners need to recognize the top threats to learn how to prevent altercations with wildlife.
As our metros continue to expand, wild animals, like coyotes, become displaced and roam near our homes. It’s not uncommon for coyotes to go after cats and small dogs — and even transmit diseases like distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and rabies. To help prevent coyotes from making your neighborhood their home, Preventative Vet recommends:
- Avoid attracting coyotes with dog food outside, an uncleaned grill, and exposed trash
- Don’t leave cats and dogs outside unattended for long durations
- Don’t turn your back and run from an approaching coyote
- Raise and wave your hands to appear larger and more threatening
- Run toward them making noise to scare them away
Ticks and fleas
Be on the alert for wild or feral animals that are prone to passing on fleas and ticks. Top animals that you should watch out for are:
- Deer: Deer ticks are prevalent in wooded areas
- Raccoons and opossums: Exposed trash or garbage attract these critters at night that can easily bring fleas into your yard
- Feral cats: Wherever stray cats roam can be infested with fleas and ticks
Tips to minimize contact with your pet:
- Limit access where wild animals can enter your yard and home. Ask a garden professional about plants that can deter invasions
- Landscape your yard so that it’s unsuitable for ticks, like frequently mowing the lawn and removing leaf litter
- Treat your pet with a flea and tick control product
If a cat comes in contact with a raccoon, they typically know to stay away — but dogs can have the urge chase and fight raccoons. A raccoon that is sick, injured, protecting their young or an orphaned baby especially will instinctually fight back. This is a fight dogs tend to lose. Raccoons are known to ferociously scratch and bite around the eyes and abdomen. In worst cases, these can lead to collapsed lungs, septic peritonitis and a lacerated urethra.
To prevent contact between your dog and raccoons:
- Keep dogs outdoors only during the daytime
- Keep your dog supervised and leashed while walking
- Stay up-to-date on vaccinations
- Install outdoor floodlights to turn on and scan your yard before letting your dog out at night
For pet lovers, hearing news stories of dogs being snatched up by mountain lions in areas like Denver and Pescadero is devastating. But if you live in mountain lion territory, it’s a reality to contend with. The Mountain Lion Foundation makes these recommendations to protect your dog:
- Keep your pet inside your home near family and security
- Enclose unaccompanied dogs outside with a dog run or fence that provides a clear view
- Don’t tether your dog outside, which can prevent your pup from protecting itself
- Feed indoors
- Clean up dog droppings frequently
- Install frightening devices like lighting systems and motion detection alarms that blast water
Call the experts
The best action you can take is to consult wildlife control experts about any threats or concerns over your dog’s safety. Trained and degreed wildlife technicians are knowledgable and equipped to handle all kinds of wildlife, from prevention to removal. These specialists can also provide professional advice and assistance on how to remove animals ethically, humanely and in an environmentally-conscious manner. Whether you have regular visits from wild animals or want to take preventative measures before any occurrences, speaking to the pros provides the best safeguard.