Today, on national wildlife day, we would like to give you some tips on keeping your pets safe during hikes, camping trips, or even in your back yard!
Option 1: Keep pets indoors. The fact is keeping pets indoors is the best way to protect your animal from the dangers posed by wildlife and cars. Your pet will be protected from not only injury but also contracting potential diseases.
Option 2: Keep pets inside yard. This method isn’t as secure as option 1 as wildlife can often approach your animal. There are some ways to increase the protection.
Pets can be kept inside yards by a variety of means.
Electronic-invisible (normally for dogs)
Leashes–normally for dogs
Fences–both dogs and cats. Search the Internet for “pet fences”
Physical Barriers (to keep wildlife out)
Sometimes, fences have to be able to not only keep pets on your property, but also to keep other wildlife from entering your property.
Fence type is determined by the kinds of species you are seeking to protect your pet against.
Coyotes. Fence should be at least 6 feet higher than the surrounding terrain. Some claim a device known as the “coyote roller” is effective in making smaller fences coyote proof by preventing the coyote from gaining a foothold and pulling himself over. However, the fence should be at least 5 feet high before installing this device. Fences must also be secure to the ground (better to have them buried in the ground) to prevent coyotes from crawling under the fence.
Skunks and similar animals. Install a 4 foot fence with 12 inches of the fence buried one inch below the ground surface, bent away from the property at a 90 degree angle. This fence skirt will stop an animal from digging underneath the fence to gain entry into the property.
Raccoons. See skunks. Fence should be as tall as possible. To prevent climbing, install an electrical wire near the top of the fence (if legal) or angle the top portion of the fence to prevent further climbing. Pay special attention to corners of the fence as these are often neglected.
Out and about
Dogs off leash can disturb nesting ground birds, chase, injure or kill small mammals, deer, etc – keep your dog on a leash!
– Keep your dog’s vaccinations up to date.
– Always supervise pets when outdoors, particularly at dawn and dusk.
– Avoid going near den sites and thick vegetation.
– If you find an animal carcass, leave the area, it could be a kill that a cougar is guarding or will be returning to.
– Make noise while hiking.
– Do not allow dogs to play with or chase wildlife.
IF YOU ENCOUNTER WILDLIFE: Keep your dog leashed and under control.
Always give the animal a clear escape route. Do not crowd the animal; doing so could make it stressed and unpredictable.
– Stay calm, do not run.
– Pick up small pets and children.
– Appear as big and as loud as possible.
– Stomp your feet, and clap your hands.
– Shout in a loud, authoritative voice.
– Throw sticks or rocks at the animal if it approaches.
– Do not turn your back. Face the animal and back away slowly.
– If attacked, fight back!
– Rattlesnakes: stop and listen to where the rattle sound is coming from. Don’t jump or run. Slowly back away.
– If a deer knocks you down, curl into a ball, protect your head and lie still until the animal retreats.
House Cats and Wildlife
SHARE THE WILD
House cats, due to their predatory nature, do pose a threat to wildlife populations such as songbirds and small mammals. Free-roaming house cats can be an attractant to bring wildlife, like coyotes, into a neighborhood. The cats themselves are often at risk of being preyed upon by larger predators like coyotes, foxes, raccoons, cougars, skunks, raptors and domestic dogs. The human safety risk is higher once wild animals find a food source close to urban areas. Cats can also contract diseases like rabies, from coming in contact with wildlife.
Training Your Cat to Become an Indoor Cat
To protect our pets and wildlife, here are some tips to turn an outdoor cat into a happy indoor cat.
– When acquiring a new cat, keep it inside from the start.
– Gradually decrease the amount of time your cat spends outdoors and increase the time indoors. This may be easiest to do during the winter months.
– Provide indoor activities such as cat condos, window perches, interactive toys, and scratch posts.
– Offer fresh cat greens often.
– Provide an outdoor enclosed and covered room, patio or run. The cat can access the safe outdoor area through a cat door or window door. There are several commercial cat runs and outdoor cat exploring cages available at pet supply companies.
– Consider leash training to supervise the cat’s time outside.
– Keep vaccinations current.
– Spay and neuter.
– Do not let pets outside at night.
– Provide a reflective collar with identification and a bell to warn wildlife of the cat’s presence.
– Keep cats indoors during the spring baby bird season.
– Trim your cat’s nails every one to two weeks