We do so much for our dogs. From grooming to feeding, our dogs are considered a member of the family. But what happens when our dogs interact with wild or feral animals?
Are feral and wild animals a risk to my dog? To answer this, we’ll have to take a closer look at what those terms mean.
What Does Feral and Wild Mean?
Most people are probably familiar with the term “domestic.” Our dogs and cats are considered domestic in that they have been bred for generations to cohabitate with humans. The term feral refers to an animal that was once domesticated but no longer has contact with humans. So a feral dog or cat is one that lives outside and has little to no contact with people.
A wild animal is one that has never been domesticated. While dogs or cats can easily slip back to living by themselves after a generation or two, wild animals have never known the comfort of a warm couch on a rainy day. These animals might include cougars or mountain lions, but certain birds or small mammals have also never been domesticated.
Whether feral or wild, are these animals a risk to your pets?
Are Feral and Wild Animals a Risk to My Dog?
This kind of depends on how you like to raise your pets. Some dog owners like to give their pets as much freedom to explore nature as possible. They might explore local forest preserves or even private property. Other pet owners only take their pets out on leash and keep an eye on everything they can. One way isn’t better. It’s just a matter of what you’re comfortable with and what makes your dog happy.
By keeping your pet close to you, you’ll be able to protect them from entering risky situations where wild or feral animals may attack them. Being able to pull your dog away from a wild animal may be just what keeps them from getting in a fight.
There is also the risk of disease. Your dog might not directly come into contact with a wild animal, but they can come into contact with the remains or feces of a wild animal. The risk here isn’t physical, but your dog can catch a disease or illness. Even if your dog doesn’t come across many wild animals, disease can be brought to them. If a wild animal enters your dog’s space to drink some water or take some food you left out, disease can spread to your dog.
How to Protect your Pet from Wild Animals
There are a number of things you can do to make sure your dog is protected from wild animals. Take a look at our recommendations:
- Keep your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date – The most common disease spread by wild animals is rabies. Making sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date can help combat this.
- Don’t leave food outdoors – Leaving food outdoors is going to invite all kinds of critters into your backyard. It’s best not to temp them.
- Always make sure your dog is supervised – Your dog can be attacked or infested when you’re not watching.
- Keep your yard clean and tidy – If you are due to clean up your dog’s business, this can invite other animals. Likewise, you might be creating spots for other animals to hide if your yard is covered with clutter.
- Make sure your dog has ID tags – If anything does happen to your dog, you’ll want to make sure their most up to date information is on their tags.
Of course these are just precautions you can take. There is no one thing you can do to ensure that your dog never runs into a wild or feral animal, other than never letting them out of the house. Whether you live in a big city or in a rural surrounding, there is a chance that your pet will encounter other animals that are not domestic. The best thing you can do is keep your dog’s shots up to date and try not to encounter other animals.
No matter where you live, the chance of your dog running into a problem drops dramatically if you take precautions and don’t invite trouble your way.