In this area, we have tons of wildlife that our pets are bound to have run-ins with. Common wildlife run-ins around here include porcupines, coyotes, skunks, foxes, raccoons, and birds of prey. Fighting with wild animals can have disastrous consequences for our pets. Wildlife are also carriers of numerous diseases that could be transmitted to our pets. Our pets can also harm wildlife, as well as their natural habitats. It is up to us to protect our pets and take precautions to make sure no animals are harmed.
The most common issue we see involving wildlife is from pets chasing wildlife, trying to sniff wildlife up close and even trying to attack them. Sometimes seeing a new furry friend in the yard is too tempting for our pets. We frequently see pets with porcupine quills and get phone calls about pets being sprayed by skunks. These happen because the pet decided to go check out the visitor and got too close. There are also cases of cats and small dogs who have been grabbed by birds of prey and coyotes. These pets usually require extensive surgical repair. The best way to keep your pet safe from this sort of thing is to avoid the problem entirely. Keep your pets on a leash or contained in some way when outside. Wildlife is most active at dawn and dusk, so keep a close eye on pets at those times. Also, keep in mind that spring is the baby season, so keep watch for protective mamas!
We can also try to limit the amount of wildlife hanging around our yards by ensuring all garbage’s, recycling, and green bins are wildlife proofed. Sometimes the smell of food or garbage can tempt wildlife to the area. Things such as bird feeders or baths can also increase wildlife traffic. Be sure to feed your pets indoors as many wild animals love kibble!
Wildlife are carriers of diseases. Thankfully, many of these diseases have vaccines available that we can give to our pets to protect them. Some of these diseases include rabies, leptospirosis, and distemper, all of which have vaccines available for them. Your pet should have yearly veterinary visits where you can discuss their lifestyle with the vet to determine if they are at risk. You can also discuss parasite prevention with your vet as many wildlife are loaded with ticks and worms, and could bring them into your yard.
Accidents happen, and many pets will have run-ins with wildlife during their lifetime. If this happens, you should contact your veterinarian immediately to figure out the best course of action. Porcupine quills should be removed right away, as they migrate inwards very quickly. NEVER cut the quills. If your pet has a laceration, they should be seen immediately for it to be repaired. Your vet can also let you know if your pet is up to date on vaccines or not, and make a plan from there. If your pet accidentally harms a wild animal, we are lucky to have Hope For Wildlife close by. They will take the wild animal and release it when it is healed.
Written by: Mikaila Cariou, RVT