We all know the feelings of frustration and futility when you call your pet inside only to be coolly ignored. This resistance tends to happen around dusk, when the opportunity to experience the emerging darkness is savored and shared by pets and predators alike. It’s easy to have a sense of security in our own backyards, but it’s important to know that your pet can be at risk anywhere.
Your companion’s safety is important to us, which is why we’re offering the following tips on how to protect your pet.
The Wild at Your Doorstep
Coyotes are arguably one of the biggest threats facing pets. You might have seen the recent effort in Decatur to reduce the number of coyotes in neighborhoods. Sure, we’re north of the river corridor, but the risk is still very real to our pets. Fierce, confident, and somewhat laissez-faire about their proximity to humans, coyotes will attack a pet left out at night. Some tips to keep in mind:
- Do not keep pet food outside.
- Ensure trash receptacles are secured.
- Reduce areas on your property that attract rodents that coyotes like to snack on.
- Keep your exterior well-lit.
- Hang pie tins that bang together in the wind to startle approaching predators.
Your pet could certainly encounter various reptiles during any time outside. Alabama hosts six venomous snakes: copperheads, cottonmouths, eastern diamondbacks, timber rattlesnakes, eastern coral snakes, and pygmy rattlesnakes. To protect your pet from these poisonous animals:
- Discourage your dog from exploring thick, tall grassy areas.
- Prohibit your dog from sniffing in and around likely snake burrows, such as beneath tree trunks or under porches.
- Know when to seek help for a pet emergency. If it’s before 9 p.m., you can call us at (256) 232-0698 After that, please contact Animal Emergency Clinic or Veterinary Regional Referral Hospital.
Raccoons are not known to attack pets, but when going through household trash, they may have to defend themselves from a territorial pet. Raccoons certainly can be vicious, but their biggest threat is the possibility of spreading rabies to your pet during a fight. Again, don’t leave food outside and keep trash secured.
Alabama doesn’t have an abundance of mountain lions (also known as cougars), but we do have bobcats! Recent findings show that mountain lions are moving east from their typically western habitats. Therefore, it’s important to always keep your pet on a leash when hiking. If you encounter a mountain lion, follow this advice:
- Make yourself look bigger.
- Pick up small children.
- Shout at the cougar/bobcat
- Throw things to ward off an attack, but never bend down to pick things up.
Protect Your Pet
The best way to protect your pet is to use caution at all times. Always be aware of your pet’s location – whether in the wilderness or on your own property – and know that attacks from wild animals can occur anywhere at any time.
If you have any concerns or questions about other ways to protect your pet, our veterinarians and staff members are always here for you.
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