5 Tips For Protecting Your Pets From Wildlife

As communities grow and expand, wild animals are losing their natural habitat and are becoming acclimated to urban and suburban surroundings.

Posted: September 13, 2011, 3 a.m. EDT

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 dog and fox
This encroachment of wild animals can be a problem for domesticated pets including cats and dogs. Wild animals can easily hurt, maim or even kill household pets that do not have the survival skills or temperament to defend themselves.

To help pet owners, Southeast Area Animal Control Authority has released a list of tips to help pet owners keep their pets safe from wild animals.

1. Don’t leave food outside
Wild animals can be expert foragers. Leaving food outside (leftovers, pet food, trash or anything else) can be an invitation to wild creatures

2. Get your pet vaccinated
Wild animals can be a mode of rabies transmittal. Ensure your pet is vaccinated just in case he or she is attacked and infected.

3. Notify the authorities
If you notice a wild animal or animal tracks near your home, immediately contact your local animal control or wildlife service agency. They have the resources and skills to handle these situations and make your environment safer for your pet.

4. Protect your home/ Clear your surroundings
Make sure wild animals cannot get into your home through open doors or windows, including dog doors. Many wild animals roam in the nighttime, when you and your pets are sleeping. Lock and secure your doors and windows before you go to bed.

Excessive debris, vegetation, fallen trees and hillside brush and shrubs can be enticing hiding places for snakes and other wild animals. Clear the areas around your home to avoid un-welcomed surprises for you and your pets.

5. Keep your pet on a leash/ Don’t let your pet roam outdoors alone
It is best to keep an eye on your pet when outdoors so that they do not become targets for wildlife. When hiking or walking trails with pets it is best to keep them on a leash. Excessively long leashes or no leashes at all, can allow your pet to explore hidden areas where they could possibly uncover snakes or other wild animals.

“As our population continues to grow and we encroach upon wildlife, we need to be extra vigilant about pet safety,” notes SEAACA Executive Director, Dan Morrison. “With a few smart precautions, we can protect our much-loved pets from dangerous encounters with wild animals.”
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Judy   Los Angeles, CA

9/21/2011 9:27:53 PM

I live in Los Angeles, and most of what people are saying - I agree with - I thank Arizona for the toad mention - I didn't know. I don't like those nasty varments - possums. Living in a city with canyons & hills you always have to be on the lookout for rattlers and the occassional bobcats. I take my Husky to Laurel Cyn. dog park -and a rattlesnake came into the park. For a couple of years we had mountain lion warnings. As most know, predators follow their food supply. You always need to be aware of your surroundings. I love to go hiking with the dogs and my job is to make sure we "avoid rattlesnakes and poison oak", poison oak and rattlesnakes - repeat until safe.

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Nancy   Green Valley,, AZ

9/21/2011 12:15:12 PM

Arizona is quite different. We do have bobcats, coyotes etc, but we have two very very dangerous wildlife critters. Rattlesnakes and river toads! There is training available for the snakes and toads but most dogs "forget" after a period of time. The toads appear during monsoon and are very bad. If the dog "licks" or touches the toad with his mouth he/she could die. Very toxic to dogs. If proper treatment is given quickly all is well. Most of us here either walk our dogs and keep an eagle eye out, or (my top choice) take them to a dog park. Ours love it and have lots of "buddies" there. It is large and divided into two areas-one for large or aggressive dogs and one for small or docile dogs. Great addition to any community.

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George Walker   Bainbridge Island, WA

9/18/2011 7:49:19 PM

The authorities could care less. They have told us that the coyotes, racoons and other assorted animals were here first, including deer. Our neighbors have lost many dogs and cats to these scavengers. We too, have lost a beautiful cat. It's time to have a deer season and trappers to rid the Island of these dangerous critters.

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Chloe   Englewood, FL

9/16/2011 2:03:20 PM

My dogs have always had a fenced in yard until I moved back to FL. Now I have to walk them. They do not leave the house unless on a leash. One night a couple of months ago I was walking Lucky and stopped. I looked where he was looking and saw two wolves. Immediately picked him up and hurried into the unit. Now they don't have the luxury of a walk after dark. Might say it's Wild Kingdom here and we don't like it. I did call FL Wildlife and Fisheries and she confirmed that wolves were here as is everything else. I learned the hard way. Now a whistle goes with me on their last walk close to the building at dusk and during the day too!! Good advice and thank you, Dog Channel, for sharing. :)

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