Taking precautions when it comes to wildlife and your pets is not reserved for rural settings or hikes through the park. Even in urban and suburban neighborhoods, wild animals can pose a threat to our dogs, cats, rabbits and other pets.

The fact is, there are many urban animals roaming streets and yards that can harm our pets via physical attacks or disease transmission. Knowing the threats in your neighborhood can help you create an environment that minimizes the chances of your pet becoming a victim.

Discourage urban wildlife

You can’t avoid urban animals, even in the middle of a city, but you can create an environment that is less inviting. Most urban animals are looking for a food source and they may be attracted to feces in your yard. Keeping trash containers tightly closed and cleaning up after your pet can help minimize visits from these critters.

  • Raccoons – prey on small dogs and cats
  • Rats – most common in urban settings; disease is the big threat
  • Squirrels – can become aggressive when chased by enthusiastic dogs
  • Skunks – tend to prey on small pets if they fail to find food; their spray can be debilitating to pets
  • Foxes – generally attack if their den of pups is threatened
  • Great horned owls and hawks – prey on small dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs by swooping down quickly and grabbing their prey

What you can do

Awareness is your best weapon. Educate yourself on the animals roaming your North Canton, Canton, or Akron neighborhood, especially if your home is in a more rural area frequented by coyotes, bobcats and other wild animals. Always supervise pets that are outdoors, even if they are in a cage or kennel.

Always use a leash when walking your dog, whether you are going around the block or walking a trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This provides your best chance to keep your pet a safe distance from an animal that may bite or scratch. Even a brief encounter with a squirrel could result in an infection from a scratch.

Camping and vacations

Taking dogs along on camping and hiking trips can be great fun but take time to check your surroundings for evidence of nests and breeding areas. Once you have settled on a camp site, avoid feeding your pet outside if possible and never leave your pet unsupervised.

If a dangerous animal approaches you and your pet, or you come upon one while hiking, keep your pet close and avoid the temptation to get a closer look. Back away slowly and do not let your dog run.

If you have questions about best practices for you and your pet regarding wild animals, contact Lake Cable Animal Hospital. If you suspect your pet has been in contact with or injured by a wild animal, contact our veterinarians right away.