If you have a dog, chances are it has encountered wild animals before, whether it was in your yard, when you were going for a walk, or wherever else it may have been. While nature is generally a great place for pets to spend their time, there is some amount of danger lurking out there, especially for smaller dogs. Wild animals, big and small, can pose a threat to your dog’s health. Continue reading to find out what animals can put your dog in danger.
While you may think coyotes are only found in the woods or way out in the country, that is a completely false assumption. Coyotes are actually very adept scavengers that are frequently encountered in urban areas. If you leave your pet food outside or have garbage that is unsecured, there is a good chance coyotes will be more likely to frequent your property, as they are scavengers of the highest order. While coyotes generally do not attack dogs, especially in the daylight or if a human is present, there is always a chance they will, as they can be aggressive in certain situations. They are scrappy fighters, generally fighting until they kill, so they can cause serious harm to your pets. If you have smaller dogs especially, be sure to keep them secure at night, so no coyotes can harm them.
Mountain lions, also referred to as cougars, are often thought of as a mythical creature. They are supposed to be out there, yet they are rarely encountered. However, if you live in mountain lion territory, they are definitely out there, despite being very secretive and rarely being seen. Cougars can be highly aggressive or relatively docile, depending on the situation. These powerful animals pose a serious, potentially deadly, threat to dogs of all sizes, as their sharp claws and fangs are very effective. These animals are rarely encountered during the day, so it should be enough prevention to just keep your dog secure at night.
Love them or hate them, snakes tend to be everywhere, even if they are completely out of sight. While most snake species could not do more harm than just leaving a non-venomous bite on your dog, some species are a little more serious. Copperheads, rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths are found all across the United States. These ‘pit vipers’ pose a very serious threat to dogs, as they are extremely venomous and can cause death to a full-grown human, let alone a smaller dog. There is really no way to prevent snake bites from occurring, as dogs will always root around your property and wherever else they have access to. There are snake-proof vests you can put on your dog, but the most important thing to keep in mind is to get your dog treatment quickly if it is bitten.
Mice and rats couldn’t harm your dog other than by leaving small bites, could they? While all they will physically do to your pet is leave those small bites, the bites can lead to far more serious consequences. Rodents are the carriers of all kinds of viruses and bacterial infections that can potentially kill your pet. From the hantavirus to rat-bite fever, rodents easily transmit these diseases through their saliva that is put into your dog at the site of their bite. It is very hard to prevent encounters with rodents, as they are extremely plentiful. One of the best things you can do is to simply keep your garbage secured and do not leave pet food out overnight, as these things attract more rodents to your property.
You have surely seen these masked bandits ambling around your suburb or property at some point. These opportunistic scavengers will eat anything that bears resemblance to food, and they especially love garbage and pet food. Though raccoons are often scared away by pets, they may feel threatened, and in this case, they will become emboldened and fight with your dog. While even smaller dogs may win the fight with raccoons, there are some other issues to worry about beyond physical harm. Raccoons often carry different diseases, but the most serious of them is rabies. Rabies is eventually deadly to pets, so it is important to take precautions. One of the best things you can do is give your pet frequent rabies vaccinations, as this will make them immune to the rabies virus. Also be sure to keep garbage and pet food secured, as this attracts raccoons to your property.
One of the most painful animal encounters for dogs is the one where a curious dog finds a porcupine and ends up in lots of pain. Porcupines are found across the United States, and though they prefer wooded areas, can eventually travel off the beaten path. They have hundreds of sharp quills that can be embedded into a potential threat’s skin. Even if your pet is just curious, there is a large chance it will end up with a face full of barbed quills that can require hours of painstaking removal. Keeping your dog away from porcupines can be more successful if you do not allow your dog access to wooded areas that porcupines like to frequent.
Getting “skunked” is one of the many things a dog can be great at. Skunks will spray their pungent odor if they feel threatened, and many dogs become curious and end up getting to know this odor very well. While the odor may be nothing more than a bothersome smell, skunks can have the potential to be more harmful. Surprisingly enough, skunks carry a lot of diseases, and one of these is rabies. Since rabies can be lethal to dogs over time, it is important to take some steps to prevent it. One of the best ways to avoid a rabies death is to simply get your pet vaccinated. It is hard to prevent skunks otherwise, as they like to root around in yards with high grub populations. There are a variety of different products that are made to repel skunks, though the efficacy of some is questionable.