Have you ever been relaxing on your deck around sundown and saw a deer? They’re beautiful creatures to watch when you’re at a safe distance, but pretty frightening when you come across that same deer while on a walk with your dog or when your cat is chasing a bird in the backyard. Pets and wildlife are a dangerous mix. So how do you keep your pets safe?

Protect Against Rabies

The best way to protect your pets against wildlife is to keep their rabies shots up to date. Rabies is a disease caused by a virus transmitted through the saliva of a rabid animal. A bite or scratch is enough to create an open wound where the virus gets in. Rabies also transmits from animals to humans. While some rabies vaccinations are licensed for one year, others are labeled for three years, but some states require annual vaccination regardless of labeling. Your veterinarian will know your state’s laws and keep your pet on the appropriate vaccination schedule. Also check with your veterinarian to see if he or she recommends leptospirosis and/or distemper vaccines for your pets.

Keep Your Yard Unattractive To Wild Animals

The most likely spot your pets will come into contact with a wild animal is in their own yard. We can limit the amount of wildlife in our yard by ensuring all garbage and recycling are kept in closed bins. If your pet plays in your fenced-in yard, do not have bird feeders. These increase not just birds, but also squirrels and raccoons. Most importantly, be sure to feed your pets indoors. Be sure to keep your yard as clear as possible from your pet’s waste. Coyotes, hawks and raccoons are attracted to the smell.

What To Do If Your Pet Gets Near Wildlife

If wildlife does come into your yard or you encounter some during a walk, the most important thing is never to run away. Running is an invitation to wildlife and they will chase your pet. The best thing to do is stand still for a second and hope the creature is spooked enough by your presence to run away. If not, back away slowly. Do everything possible to keep your pet calm. If this fails, try making loud noises.

If the worst happens and your pet is injured, try to keep them calm and immediately call your veterinarian. If the injury happens when our offices are closed, contact one of our recommended 24-hour clinics. Give the emergency vet access to the PetWow app via your phone so the vet has access to your pet’s health records.

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