Should You Be Worried of Wildlife Harming Your Pet?

If you live on the outskirts of town or have several acres of property, you probably see wild animals roam through your yard on a regular basis. Deer, groundhogs, squirrels, skunks, and maybe even coyotes or foxes saunter through your yard. These animals look awesome from a distance, but if they come in contact with your pets these animals might harm your beloved Fifi or Fido. Don’t worry. Your pets will be safe as long as you take precautions and know what to do when you find wild animals near your house. Take a look at some wild animals that might tangle with your pets, and what you can do about them.

Skunks


Skunks normally spray animals or humans rather than attack. The stinky smell is usually harmless, and your pet may become scared. If your cat or dog encounters a skunk, work to wash off the spray as soon as possible. Tomato juice or tomato paste works wonders. Skunks carry rabies, so make sure your pet is up-to-date on a rabies vaccination before wandering outdoors in case of a bite from a skunk.

Snakes


Snakes rarely make noise, and pets may suddenly come upon them in your yard. Most snakes are more afraid of your dog or cat, and they usually slither away to hide under a rock or tree. However, if a snake is surprised by your pet, it may lash out and bite. Venomous snakes, such as rattlesnakes or coral snakes, spend most of their time hiding under logs or rocks. Vets say snakes aren’t usually a problem except in Colorado and Arizona where dogs roam through wide-open spaces. The best thing to do for your pet is to have an updated rabies vaccination. If your dog has an unfortunate encounter with a venomous snake, take your pooch to an emergency vet immediately so the doctor can administer fluids and an antivenom.

Feral Cats or Dogs


Feral cats and dogs look like domesticated animals, but they have had little to no human contact since birth. As such, you should treat feral dogs or cats as wild animals. Feral dogs or cats may come close to your house looking for food, which is why you should protect your pet’s food and water supply from contamination due to diseases carried by these animals. Keep your pets’ food indoors, such as in a garage or enclose porch, to keep your animals safe from indirect harm.

Raccoons


Raccoons are nocturnal creatures that love to climb things. You might see them in the rafters of your garage or shed, or even going through your garbage can or garbage pile at night looking for food. Raccoons keep to themselves and rarely attack other animals, but mamas might defend their young or lash out at your pet if they happen upon your dog or cat. Aside from scratches or bites that need attention, rabies poses the biggest danger from raccoons.

Porcupines


The main danger from a porcupine are the hundreds of sharp quills protruding from the creature’s back. Veterinarians note the northeastern United States is the most common area for porcupine injuries in pets. Dogs may chase porcupines because they look and smell different, plus they move slowly. Keep your dog close to your yard, if possible, and don’t let him wander without your supervision to avoid an encounter with a porcupine’s barbed quills. Take your dog to the vet immediately because quills can cause and spread infections quickly if the quills aren’t removed and the wounds treated promptly.

Beavers


Beavershave big front teeth used to gnaw tree branches, and they have sharp claws, too. Both the claws and teeth of a beaver can scratch your pets, so use caution when taking your dog out for a walk near water. Beavers usually run and hide underwater as they swim to their dens, so your dog is normally safe near beavers. However, vets do report bite or scratch injuries from beavers. Therefore, keep an eye out for these furry creatures!

Wolverines


Wolverineslive mainly in the northern United States and Canada, and they can be aggressive when startled or hungry. A wolverine has a powerful bite to go along with sharp teeth and claws. Prevent your dog from having a wolverine encounter by keeping him close to you on walks through the woods. Wolverines burrow underground, so make sure Fido doesn’t try digging in the dirt when he comes upon a hole in the ground.

Badgers


Badgers, like wolverines, usually live in the northern part of the United States and Canada. Badgers can bite and scratch, especially when dogs dig to find them in their homes. Ironically, dachshunds were bred for this purpose. The tiny legs and claws on a dachshund, plus the long nose, are ideal for sniffing out badgers and digging into their dens. The dachshund’s slender body fits into tiny spaces very easily, and hunters in Germany took advantage of this physical characteristic. Despite the fact that dachshunds can find badgers’ underground lairs quite readily, you should keep your dog from digging to prevent this possibly hurtful encounter.

Coyotes


Coyotes are wild dogs that hunt in packs at night. These animals might attack your dog or cat out of aggression on the hunt rather than due to surprise or protection. If you live in an area with a lot of coyotes, keep your cat or dog inside at night as a precaution. Unfortunately, coyotes may kill your pet if they encounter your furry friend. Fortunately, you hear coyotes howl long before they reach your house, so when you hear the cackle of coyotes in the distance, you might want to bring your pets indoors just in case.

Other wild animals that might cause problems for your pets include squirrels, groundhogs, rats, and scorpions. The best thing to do when your pet has an injury from a wild animal is to reach your vet as soon as possible. Some pets encounter wild animals when they go out exploring. Others, such as this brave hound dog named Guinness, become heroes by defending their homes and humans against animals that get too close. With a few precautions and having an action plan in mind, you can keep your pets safe from wild animals on your property. In general, your pets are safe from wildlife since wild animals typically run and hide rather than attack.

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