Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital’s Blog
Springtime Wildlife and Pet Safety
Springtime is an exciting time of year for pretty much every species of animal on the planet. The longer days and warmer temps bring us all back to life after the winter months, and send many of us exploring the rebirth of the natural world. Unfortunately, that means wild animals may be venturing into not-so-wild places, such as your backyard, bringing problems such as infectious diseases, parasites, and the hazards of fighting.
As the weather gets warmer, you’ll want to be sure that your pets are current on all their vaccinations, particularly the rabies vaccine. Likewise, your pet should be on a monthly parasite preventative that helps to control the threat of fleas, ticks, heartworm, and intestinal parasites.
Help your pet avoid confrontations with wild animals by surveying your property before letting your pets outdoors and avoiding leaving them unattended. Keep your fence secure, your trash safely stowed away, and any problem areas (such as lawn debris, firewood, or crawl spaces) cleaned up or secured against wildlife looking for somewhere to call home.
Skunks are most active at dawn and dusk, so if your pet is outdoors during these times be sure to let any skunks in the area know you and your pet are out and about. Skunks do not spray unless they feel threatened, so let them hear you and give them a chance to run away.
You’ll also want to be sure to pick up any garbage or leftover pet food in your yard, as these things may attract skunks to your property. Skunks also dig for grubs, which tend to live in moist soil. Avoiding over watering your lawn can help.
As the weather warms, rattlesnakes tend to become more active, too. Bites from these venomous snakes can be very serious and should be prevented when possible.
Keep your dog on a leash if possible when outside of your yard and stay on trails if possible. Even dogs that are well trained and come when called can be be attacked by a startled snake, making your pet’s leash a must this time of year.
And don’t forget that snakes don’t heed property lines. You can find a rattlesnake in your yard just as easily as you can find one on the trails. Keep your property clear of brush and debris, as both are good areas for snake dens.
Many types of ticks reside in California, and there are several types of tick-borne diseases that can affect animals. Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain Spotted fever are all concerns.
Be sure to keep your pet on a monthly tick preventative. Try to stay on trails in wooded areas and keep your pets out of tall brush. When coming indoors, be sure to perform a thorough tick check on your pet (as well as yourself). Don’t forget to peek in your pet’s ears, paws, and underarms to remove ticks before they imbed.
While we are all excited that spring has arrived, be careful to protect your pet from these common springtime threats. With a little prior planning, and an understanding of the threats your pet may face, keeping your four-legged friend safe this time of year doesn’t have to be hard.
And remember, if you have any questions about springtime wildlife pet safety, or about what to do if your pet is affected by local wildlife, please let us know. We are always happy to help!