Your pet can come in contact with wildlife no matter where you live.  Check out these tips on the most common wild animal interactions and how to keep your pet safe from wildlife and home, and out on walks!

Coyotes – Coyotes are very territorial, and primarily attack cats and small dogs at dawn or dusk, and usually in the pet’s own backyard!  Most attacks occur during breeding season (January to March), and they will even attack large dogs if they feel that their pups or territory is in danger.

Deer – Although deer are not normally considered dangerous, a buck may attack a pet during rutting season (October to December), particularly at dawn and dusk. 

Skunks, opossums, and groundhogs – These critters also do not generally pose a risk to your pets, but a run in with a skunk can ruin your day.  Clapping your hands before letting your pet outside can give them an opportunity to run and hide before coming face to face with your pet. 

Racoons – While cats generally have the good sense to steer clear of raccoons, dogs and raccoons often relish in a fight. And the dogs almost always lose the fight.  Raccoons have a malicious game plan when fighting a dog, with the intent to create as much damage as possible.  Since attacks occur at night, turning floodlights on before letting a pet out can scare them away before they can attack. 

Hawk or Owl – If a hawk or owl appears in your yard, bring your cat inside.  A flashlight beam will scare the bird off. trimming dead branches from trees will eliminate some nesting areas.  If a nest is built in your yard, keep your cat inside until the babies leave.  Removing a nest that contains eggs, or nestlings violates state and federal laws, as does harming birds of prey in general. Call your local wildlife department for more information.  In this area you can call the ODNR at (614) 265-6565.

Home Safety Tips to Protect Your Dog and Cat from Wildlife

  • Remove trash and food (human and pet) from your yard. Keep clutter out of your yard that would allow for wildlife to hide or live in.  Regularly clean your yard of animal waste- it can attract wild animals to your property.
  • Wild animals can even find their way into fenced yards. Monitor your pet (especially small dogs) while they are outside, particularly at dusk and dawn.  Do not leave them chained up in the yard- they become a sitting target! 
  • Keep your pets current on vaccinations. One of the biggest threats that wild animals pose to your pet is rabies!  You can call us at Granville Veterinary Clinic at 740-587-1129 to get them scheduled for vaccines!
  • Make sure your neighbors understand the threat of wildlife and take these precautions seriously as well- wildlife does not abide by property lines.

Walking Safety with Your Dog

  • Keep pets on a leash during walks, and avoid areas of thick vegetation where wild animals could be hiding.
  • If you encounter a wild animal, face the animal and back away slowly- do not run away! Pick up any small animals so wildlife does not see them as “easy prey”.  Leave a path for the animal to escape, and stay as far away as possible.  Never let the pet interact, or “play” with a wild animal. 

Protecting Cats

  • Raccoons, possums, and skunks can’t jump or climb as well as cats, so consider placing food bowls on a higher platform. Keeping food off the ground will also prevent insects from getting into the food.
  • Raising outdoor shelter units make it difficult for most unwanted wildlife visitors to access the shelter. Offering multiple outdoor units will allow the cat to find shelter if wildlife is in a different outdoor unit.  The shelter door should only be wide enough for cats to go through.  The shelters should have multiple doorways so a cat can escape if unwanted wildlife blocks their exit.