How to Protect Your Pet From Wildlife

 


Most pets love the great outdoors, and with the weather heating up, you and your pal are likely to be spending more time outside. However, certain dangers lurk beyond the front door, from fleas and ticks to poisonous plants to extreme weather temperatures. And one additional danger that pet owners often overlook is the presence of other animals.

Depending on where you live, you may have skunks, raccoons, coyotes, rattlesnakes, large birds of prey, or other creatures in your yard or neighborhood. In addition to being carriers of disease, many wild animals are also capable of seriously injuring or even killing your pet.

To protect your pet from wildlife and keep the great outdoors great, follow these guidelines:

1. Make Your Yard Less Inviting to Wildlife

Wild animals often find their way into our yards when looking for food, water, or shelter. If you feed your pet outside, don’t make it a free-for-all; feed them at specific times, and collect unfinished portions when they’re done eating. Make sure that food storage containers and trash cans are secure and difficult for an animal to reach or knock over.

In addition, consider the vegetation growing in your yard. Are there berries, fruits, or seeds? You may be offering wildlife a non-stop buffet. Do you have a fountain or koi pond? It may be the perfect place for an unwanted guest to rehydrate.

Also consider cleaning up your yard to eliminate wood piles, rock piles, or other areas of clutter. These dark, shady nooks offer wild animals a cool and cozy place to curl up or nest.

RELATED STORY: Supplies for Keeping Outdoor Cats Safe and Healthy

2. If You Live In A High Risk Area, Don’t Leave Your Pet Unattended In The Yard

This is especially true for smaller pets who can be easily scooped up by birds like hawks or caught by coyotes. Larger pets can also become prey, so be careful if you live in an area with lots of predators, and remember that many animals hunt both day and night.

3. Vaccinate Your Pet

Make sure that your pet is up to date on their vaccinations. The rabies vaccine is especially important when it comes to encounters with other species, and if you live in an area known for rattlesnakes, you can also ask your veterinarian about the rattlesnake vaccine. And did you know that many dog obedience schools also offer classes for rattlesnake avoidance?! Pretty cool.

4. Practice Night Safety

Have you ever seen a skunk scurrying along a dark street? Or a band of raccoons feasting on spilled trash under a street light? Many animals come out at night, and an accidental encounter could spell trouble for your pet. When walking your pet at night, keep them on a leash, and be aware of your surroundings. Be careful about letting your pet sniff or walk around in dark bushes — this is how lots of dogs get “skunked.” And look out for groups of coyotes who may try to lure your dog away under the pretense of “play.” You can also make your yard safer by lighting it up; many wild animals avoid bright lights.

RELATED STORY: Hiking With Dogs: A Pet Parent’s Guide

5. What to Do if You Encounter Wildlife

If you encounter a wild animal while you are out on a walk, don’t panic; most animals are more afraid of you than you are of them. Your response to an encounter will depend on the animal and your distance from the animal. In many cases, an animal will run off on their own, but other times you may need to scare them away or defend yourself. Runner’s World has a great article on handling animal encounters.

Do you live in an area with wildlife or have you ever had a wild animal encounter with your pet? Leave a comment and let us know! Another way to protect your pet? Sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding and more. Check it out at PetPlus.com.

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A Tale of Two Kitties — Why You Should Go to Your Annual Vet Visit

Despite the heaps of evidence proving why one should always attend their annual vet visit, many pet parents opt out, seeing them as a waste of time and money. To help reiterate the importance of taking your pet to the vet once a year, we are proud to present…

A TALE OF TWO KITTIES

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Milo is an eight-week-old tabby that was recently adopted. His new parents, Roger and Amy, made the responsible choice to take their new kitten to the vet right away to get vaccinated and neutered. They looked online for vet reviews, found a well rated, inexpensive clinic in the area, and made an appointment for later in the week.

Way to go, team!

Money Spent: $25

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Nala is a seven-week-old domestic shorthair that was adopted by Shelly, a girl who just moved out of her parents’ house. Shelly decided to get a kitten to keep her company in her new apartment. She was going to make an appointment with a vet, but her new job starts on Monday, and she just didn’t have the time.

Oh, Shelly…

Money Spent: $25

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Thursday is here, and it is time for Milo’s first trip to the vet. Here he has his blood tested, temperature taken, teeth checked, and vaccinations administered, running Roger and Amy a total of $130. After the appointment, Roger and Amy set up another appointment for Milo to be neutered.

Good job, gang!

Money Spent: $155

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Thursday rolls around for Shelly. Little did she know that once work started up, her free time was quickly filled up with assignments and deadlines. Nala still has not been to the vet, but she seems healthy enough. She’ll just take her to the vet if something seems wrong…

Come on, Shelly!

Money Spent: $25

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10 months later, it is time for Milo’s first birthday! Having already formed a great relationship with their local vet, Roger and Amy receive a letter in the mail reminding them that it is time to schedule Milo’s 1 year checkup. They promptly respond, and then blow out the candles on Milo’s tuna cake.

Nice touch, guys!

Money Spent: $155

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A year passes and Nala still has not been to the vet. At this point she is a fully grown female cat, and is now officially in heat. Male cats are yowling outside Shelly’s window and Nala has been spraying around the house. Also, Nala has been very low energy and has been coughing

Looks like it is finally time to head to the vet, Shelly.

Money Spent: $25

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Milo goes in for his first annual checkup! Roger and Amy tell their vet that Milo has been doing great. She checks Milo’s vitals and confirms Milo’s perfect bill of health, gives him his booster shots, and Roger and Amy are out the door in record time, and with the peace of mind provided by the vet. Well worth the $50.

Way to be, Roger and Amy!

Money Spent: $205

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Shelly rushes Nala over to the emergency room where they wait for an hour and a half to see the vet because they did not make an appointment. After the vet runs a series of tests on Nala, he tells Shelly that Nala has Feline Calicivirus, and will likely be prone upper respiratory infections for the rest of her life. Also, Nala has a tooth extracted — a form of treatment for the condition.

Sadly, Nala’s condition is not curable — and while it is not directly life threatening, it could have been avoided with a simple vaccination. The visit to the ER, along with the antibiotic for Nala’s URI and the tooth extraction, run shelly just over $400. And with Nala’s condition, this is likely just the first of many trips to have a respiratory infection treated.

See, Shelly?

Money Spent: $430

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And that, in a nutshell, outlines the importance of maintaining proper pet health care. Pets, just like people, are a finely tuned machine. But even the best machine needs a check under the hood every once in a while. So, if you haven’t scheduled your pet for their annual yet, why not make that call now?

View more from Sam Bourne

If you are worried about the cost of veterinary care, sign up for PetPlus and start spending less.

Pricing for vet care was taken from http://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/cat-adoption/annual-cat-care-costs/ and http://kmdvm.blogspot.com/2013/06/how-much-does-average-cat-tooth.html

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