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No matter how large or small your dog is, if there is any risk of encountering wild animals, you have to be careful and know how to keep your dog safe from wild animals. Your best friend may seem strong but the danger of him getting hurt always appears when dealing with wild animals. The most common problems are met when dealing with coyotes, hawks, skunks, rats, scorpions, porcupines and snakes.
We need to understand that wild animals do not normally interact with humans and their pets. In most situations the problems appear because the animal is afraid of the dog or is disturbed. The situations in which the wild animals attack dogs are rare and usually involve a basic instinct like hunger.
The good news is that you can do so many things to be sure that your dog is safe from coyotes, hawks and other wild animals. In most cases you want to exhibit common sense and always be with your pet when you are going through an area where the animals could attack.
Below we talk about 12 things that you can do in most situations. This will help you to keep the dog safe from unwanted problems like scratches, stings, diseases, bites and even death in some situations. Our dogs protect us and we should always do the same so do remember the following tips.
Build a Fence
Many animals like coyotes and bears are attracted by compost piles, garbage and scents. If you live in an area where such animals are close-by, the first thing that you should do is build a fence. Even one like in the picture above can be pretty useful, even if it is basic.
We recommend facing that is a minimum of 6 feet tall. Clean the area as often as possible. This includes barbecue grills, pet bowls and even fruit that fell to the ground. Remember that some animals can dig so making sure that chains or wood go at least 20 inches in the ground is a really good idea.
When you build a gate for the fence, be sure that it does not have any holes larger than your fist. Remember that if a cat can go through the hole, so can many wild animals. If there are animals around that are known to jump over fences, like coyotes, you want to add barbed wire to the fence. Alternatively, visit the local hardware or pet stores. They normally have different products to help keep wild animals out, based on the region where you live.
Keep the Dog Vaccinated
Most pet owners are really careful with vaccination. There is a pretty good possibility that your dog is already given the core vaccines that he needs. That is definitely great but it is really important that you go to the vet and you talk about the possibility of getting vaccines that would protect against specific threats connected with wild animals living in the area.
As an example, if there are many ticks present in the region, the veterinarian may offer vaccine against Borrelia Burgdorferi, which is a common cause of the appearance of Lyme disease. Based on threats, there are various different vaccines that can be considered.
You are tempted to believe that the vaccines are not needed but you never know when the dog’s curiosity can get the better of him. Simply wondering off and having contact with some wild animals can increase the possibility of being infected by so many diseases. You want to avoid this by opting for the correct vaccination.
Remove Food from Outdoors Areas
As already mentioned, coyotes and many other animals are attracted by food. In so many cases the pet owner does not even realize that there is a threat because nobody really sees some meat left unattended outdoors by the dog as being a threat.
Just like your dog, many wild animals have an acute sense of smell. It is normal for them to want to feed so they will be drawn by that delicious food that the dog has in your backyard. Common animals that are often seen trying to get food from dogs near homes include opossums, skunks and raccoons. When the food starts to decay, more dangerous animals like coyotes are also attracted.
All that you really need to do is remove all the leftover food that is present near your home. Make sure that your trash can is properly covered and that no smell can come out of the plastic trash bags. At the very least you should move leftovers if the dog would want to chow more at a later point in time. Simply move everything indoors. If there is nothing that will draw wild animals, there is a strong possibility that they will not come.
Always Use a Leash When Walking With Your Dog
The couple above does not exhibit caution when walking with the dog through the forest. If there are wild animals present, the dog can easily be attracted, distracted and end up hurting himself. A simple leash can save you from a world of trouble when you go on a walk.
Using a leash is recommended wherever you go out with a dog, even if the dog knows the area really well. It only takes one second for him to stick his nose in a whole and be hurt by a porcupine. Many pet owners think solely of the larger predators but that is not the only threat. The dog can even get hurt if he does not notice a hole in the ground and falls.
You should never risk your dog getting lost in the forest. If you do not have a leash with you during a camping trip, you can always use rope. When the dog stays out at night in an area with animals, protect him by using a rope or a leash and securing the dog to the tree. Just make sure that he has enough space to play a little as you do not want him feeling discomfort.
Whenever you are aware of the presence of wild animals in the area, it is crucial that you supervise the dog at all times. Remember that it only takes a second for a tragedy to happen. Many pet owners fail at doing this when there is a fenced-in yard surrounding the house. You will think that the dog is completely safe in this case but what happens if a hawk sweeps in on a small puppy? This happens much more often than you may think.
If the backyard area of a home is secured by a fence, you can let your dog roam free. If you simply cannot supervise him all the time, at least make sure that you do not tie him down. This will make him a really easy target. Dogs are predatory animals at their origins. They still have a strong instinct of preservation. This means that they will run or fight. If the dog is tied down, it can hurt his chances of defending himself against a predator. He cannot even run away.
Always Stay on A Marked Trail
Hiking with your dog can be a huge moment for the both of you. Most dogs love hiking as they adore being surrounded by nature. However, when you go with him on a hike, you have an extra responsibility. If you are used to inspecting new areas by wandering off the marked trail, you should stop now. Even with a leash you still might have problems since the dog goes into a new, unpredictable environment. He is not as equipped as you may be to deal with the hidden dangers. This does not include only wild animals.
An unmarked trail can have brushes that are prickly, can be extremely rocky and can be the home of some animals that are poisonous. Even some poisonous plants can be found in such an area. When you stay on the trail, the dog’s feet and him as a whole are kept safe.
As an extra trip, when your plan is to go to an area that features water or rugged terrain, buy some special hiking boots for your dog. They are not expensive, will not make the dog uncomfortable and can protect him from stepping on a hidden porcupine or similar.
Make Sure Your Dog Has ID Tags
No matter where the dog stays, an ID tag is always a really good idea. That tag should include contact information and you have to be sure that it is safely secured to the dog’s collar. If possible, do consider using microchipping. This does offer many extra advantages you will definitely appreciate.
The reason why you want to be sure that this is present is the fight or flight instinct that dogs have. When encountering a wild animal, it is possible that the dog will get hurt and run away. Some just run away. Because of this the dog may get lost. If he is used to humans, he will seek refuge. When someone finds him, you want that person to have your contact information, especially if the dog is hurt.
You should know that dogs can also run away from your property, from their home if they are startled or attacked by a wild animal. This is not something that only happens when away from home. Do be sure that the tags are there as this can prove to be highly beneficial in many situations, not just with wild life encounter.
Feed Your Dog Indoors
We already mentioned that predators and wild life in general have this really acute sense of smell. Instead of always being on the lookout to throw away leftovers and always supervising your backyard dog, you can simply feed him indoors. This advice goes for every single pet that you have, including cats and even guinea pigs that really love grass.
We have to add the fact that water is also particularly attractive when there is a shortage present in the area. There are many areas where wild animals have problems because of this. If you have a decorative pond in your backyard, it can draw in the predators. Some, like raccoons, are particularly attracted by them. Offer water to your dog indoors, just as you do with the food. Also, try to discourage your dog from that funny habit of burying bones.
Always Have a First Aid Kit Around
Most homes have a first aid kit or at least some medications to deal with some emergencies that may appear. If you have one for you, why not also have one for your dog? If a wild encounter happens and the dog is hurt, the priority is always to take him to the vet. However, you could use the dog first aid kit you put together to offer initial treatment.
When making your first aid kit for the dog, you want to include all the basics. This means you need non-latex gloves, tweezers, a saline solution, the vet’s contact information, the medical records of the dog and gauze pads. Based on where you live, the veterinarian can offer extra recommendations. He will take the possible wild animal presence in the area into account, your dog’s medical records and will offer some suggestions that you should take into account.
The good news is that most injuries that a dog will have when faced with wild animals will be minor. You can normally take care of them with such a first aid kit. Just be sure that you use those products that are safe for dogs. Not all that you use is good or helpful for them.
Use Frightening Devices
Prevention is always key and if the wild animal gets scared before meeting your dog, it is definitely a great scenario. Just as the scarecrow keeps crows away from a corn field, frightening devices to keep some predators away can be installed in and around your backyard.
The great thing here is that you can get pretty creative. There are so many choices that are available and you can even create your very own frightening devices. Even really strong predators like mountain lions will want to stay away from potential danger, especially when the danger is not understood.
Most pet owners will want to install timer-activated or motion-activated devices around animal enclosure. When motion is detected you can use a combination of light and sound to scare away the animals. Only simple devices are normally necessary. Remember that you do not want to hurt the wild animal. You just want to scare him away. He was just looking for something to eat or drink when he came near your dog. Your dog would do the same if he was in the wild animal’s shoes.
Learn How to Handle Encounters
You always need to know exactly what wild animals are present in the area, no matter where you live or where you want to travel to. However, knowing about the presence of the animal is never going to be enough when you actually meet that animal. You have to also educate yourself about how to deal with the coyote or even the bear that you meet. Speaking about bears, did you know that the best course of action is not the same for every race?
Dealing with birds of prey is different than dealing with coyotes. With the birds the best course of action is to build a roof and to cover the area so that the bird cannot even see the dog. With coyotes you want to scare them away and avoid the presence of any source of food that may exist on the property.
Go to the vet and talk to the authorities so that you know everything about the wild encounters that are possible. Based on that you can make a correct choice and you will know how to react when you and your dog meet that animal.
Talk With Your Neighbor
Some people love their neighbors while others simply hate them. If you have a dog and there are wild animals around, this is completely irrelevant. In most situations warding off predators is an effort from the entire neighborhood. You want to be sure that you do things correctly and that your neighbor is just as informed as you are about what to do to avoid the unwanted encounters.
When someone new moves to the neighborhood, meet him with open arms and tell them about the wild animal encounters that could appear. Teach them what to do and make sure that the threat is understood. While it is sometimes impossible to convince people to do something right, it is possible that they will at least be a little more careful. This is what counts as you want everyone helping out to protect every pet in the neighborhood.
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