Most pets and their people never cross paths with apex predators in the wild, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. In fact, habitat loss and navigable road systems make the possibility of an encounter even more real. Skunks, raccoons, foxes, and coyotes can be threatening, but what about rattlesnakes, bears, cougars, and birds of prey?

Undoubtedly, there are wildlife dangers to pets here in California. When owners are prepared to handle the risks and results, pets have a much better chance.

Urban Wildlife

Many animals choose to live in close proximity to humans, in part because of the potential for food scraps. Others end up sharing space with us because they were there first and continually try to make the best of it. Sure, urban wildlife may not always be dangerous, but that doesn’t mean they don’t present real threats to public safety and health.

Don’t Mess With Them

Raccoons, foxes, coyotes, opossums, and skunks may be fun to see through your back windows, but they are undeniable carriers of contagious diseases, such as rabies and leptospirosis. Likewise, they often harbor various parasites, such as fleas, ticks, and worms that can spread to your pet.

Manage the Environment

To reduce possible wildlife dangers to pets, keep your pet fully vaccinated and up to date on their year-round parasite prevention. Eliminate standing water on your property and make sure there isn’t any accessible food or garbage for wildlife to rummage through. Keep compost bins secured or fully fenced.

Speaking of fencing, having a high fence and locked gates can drastically decrease the odds of wildlife getting into your pet’s territory. That being said, however, birds of prey can easily swoop down in a fully fenced yard. Small dogs and cats should be closely supervised.

Getting Outdoorsy

It’s that time of the year for people to get outside and explore the hills, forests, and waterways. We encourage you to include your best friend, but be sure to follow these rules:

  • Keep them leashed at all times.
  • If you’re really off the grid, be prepared with a pet first aid kit.
  • Be sure to pick up any food that your hiking group enjoys.
  • Make noise in order to avoid sneaking up on any wildlife (like porcupines or skunks).
  • Have a bell on your dog’s collar and continue to speak or sing in loud voices.

Wildlife Dangers to Pets

Most wild animals in their natural environment will not attack people or pets, but it’s important to be aware of the following predators and wildlife dangers to pets in California:

  • American black bears (and its subspecies, the California black bear)
  • Rattlesnakes
  • Grey wolves
  • Cougars
  • Bobcats
  • Coyotes
  • Killer bees
  • Fire ants
  • Spiders, such as the black widow and brown recluse
  • Scorpions

The more pet owners know about wildlife dangers to pets, the better. If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s possible exposure to threatening wildlife, please contact us. Our staff is always here for you at The Whole Pet Vet Hospital & Wellness Center.