Animal Safety

Your neighbor”s dog and a mountain lion don”t have much in common, but both can pose life-threatening danger to your pet.

Domestic Animals

When we think of protecting our pets from attacks, the first domestic animal that probably comes to mind is a dog. How can you minimize the chances of such an attack? The first step is to remember that safety comes first.

Dogs generally become aggressive when they feel that they, their territory or a member of their pack (this includes their human family) is threatened. Therefore, don”t allow your pet to approach unattended dogs, whether they”re running loose, tied up or in a vehicle.

Dogs aren”t the only ones who can feel threatened. All animals are wary when first introduced to a visiting animal or new animal family member. It”s best to s-l-o-w-l-y introduce them to one another. Let them first become familiar with each other”s scent (without touching). Put them in separate rooms so they can detect new scents by sniffing under a door, or place both animals in crates or kennels or tie them up in the yard. Then when proximity doesn”t raise any hackles, allow a bit of contact. This will eventually lead to more contact and finally (hopefully) friendship. Just don”t expect it to happen overnight!

Wild Animals

Do you take your pet on camping trips or live near a national park? Think about keeping your pet safe from the dangers of wildlife.

When hiking, keep your pet on a leash. This will keep him from running off and risking being attacked by a snake, coyote, raccoon or other wild animal. Removing porcupine quills from a dog”s nose or mouth is both difficult and painful. Many dogs require anesthesia. You can attempt to pull them with pliers, but if your dog is in pain, see your veterinarian immediately. You can spend hours pulling quills from his muzzle only to discover they”re also in his mouth.

Keeping your dog on a leash will also prevent injury to and from a horse and rider who may be on the trail. Some horses spook easily when around an unknown dog.

If you”re in bear country safety is vital: A loose dog can anger a bear and bring him or her charging back at you. If you and your dog should come across bear cubs, you can be assured that their mother is nearby. Leave immediately. If you can travel with the wind at your back, the bear will smell you well before you get there and leave the area.