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  • 9 Urban Wildlife Animals That Are Dangerous To Your Pets

    by Emily Bergquist

    Sponsored by Wildlife Pest

    Brown and white spotted dog laying next to a brick house in the grass in the backyard

    As pet lovers, our pets become an integral part of our family, and we always hope our furry family members remain in our lives for a good long time. However, urban wildlife, which consists of wild animals found living in urban environments, can often threaten the longevity of our beloved pets. With the arrival of summer and warm weather, our pets will be spending more time outside, which increases the likelihood of them coming into contact with local wildlife.

    Not only are our pets potential prey, but they can also be infected with deadly diseases and be temporarily or permanently injured by local wildlife. Below, we’ll detail 9 urban wildlife animals that are dangerous to your pets and the steps to take to prevent their existence.

    1. Raccoons 

    Raccoons are very playful and innocent looking and often seen around neighborhoods. However, they are also vicious predators, and will prey on cats and small dogs.

    Raccoon attacks are characterized by life threatening scratches and bites on pets. The scratches are typically inflicted around the eyes of the animals which leads to temporary blindness. Raccoons may also tear through the body of their prey with their teeth. An intervention too late often results in death for a pet. 

    2. Rats 

    This particular animal is seen frequently around the urban environments, such as New York City. These small animals are deemed intelligent, aggressive, and gluttonous. Rats invade homes thereby increasing  risk of disease transfer to your pets. Transmittable diseases from pets include leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis, tularemia and rat bite fever. If your pet has been bitten by a rat they should be immobilised and taken to a local veterinary hospital for treatment.

    Pets can also be drawn to hunt a rat and would most likely kill it. However, a rat’s aggressive nature may result in scratching and biting your pet. Such bites should not be overlooked because they can result in a festering wound on the pet’s body. 

    3. Snakes 

    These sleek animals usually lurk around in woods, grass, and inconspicuous areas around your home. They can pose a threat to pets because there are venomous species. Venomous snakes often attack pets when they stray to blind areas around the home. The bites are most common in the summer when snakes are known to be more active.

    Pet owners often don’t see when poisonous snakes bite their pets. Luckily, most snake bites are not fatal but its symptoms are best identified early. Symptoms to note include drooling, muscle spasms, sudden paralysis and visible signs of pain.

    4. Squirrels 

    Squirrels are one of the most common types of urban wildlife. Dogs can be extremely territorial, which can provoke them to hunting down squirrels spotted in their backyards and lawns. Squirrels that feel threatened can inflict injuries on your pets with their front teeth and claws.  

    Another good reason to prevent your pets from getting too close to a squirrel is the risk of contracting diseases. Squirrels are known to be carriers of various diseases and parasites. These diseases include rabies, while other diseases are carried by the mites, fleas, and ticks on the squirrels. Be sure your pet is always up to date with their shots including their rabies vaccine. 

    Golden retriever dog lays in a yard amongst yellow flowers with it's ears perked and alert.

    5. Skunks 

    There are several reasons for pet owners to be wary of skunks. They can be predators for small domestic animals, which include chickens, puppies, and kittens. Skunks resort to preying on domestic animals when a food search in a home environment was not fruitful. In failed attacks on other animals, skunks often become the prey. In such instances, skunks can still inflict a considerable amount of damage.

    The skunk’s most potent self-defense mechanism is its spray. The skunk spray which emanates from the anal part of the animal has a pungent smell that can disable pets significantly. The debilitating effect of skunk sprays include eye defects such as temporary blindness, conjunctivitis, ocular edema, and squinting. A skunk spray attack requires quick attention from veterinarians.

    6. Foxes 

    In some areas of the world foxes are considered pets, however wild foxes prey on domestic animals. Foxes are carriers of various diseases such as those transferable through bites like rabies. Other diseases associated with foxes are bacterial infections and mange which are contracted via fox feces. 

    7. Birds of Prey

    Big birds such as great horned owls, northern goshawks, and red-tailed hawks are birds of prey that are known predators to animals such as chickens, rodents, fish, small cats, small dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and puppies. 

    The hunting ability of birds are unmatched because of their ability to swoop down unsuspectingly on pets in open field spaces. If you live in an area prone to attacks from birds of prey, you should keep your pets close and in sight while outdoors, and bring them inside when they cannot be looked after. Where possible, you should endeavor to provide cover around your pet’s playing areas. 

    Small white fluffy dog wearing a blue bandana around its neck stand in a backyard looking at the camera

    8. Chipmunks 

    These small wild rodents are found almost anywhere around the world. They are famous for destroying gardens and plants. Pets can be tempted to hunt chipmunks down. Such hunts are often successful but can result from tiny bites and scratches from their sharp claws.

    Additionally, chipmunks are vectors for a wide range of diseases. Some of the diseases and parasites associated with chipmunks are rabies, ticks, roundworms, and infections caused by bites. 

    9. Scorpions 

    Scorpions are native to the Southwest region, including New Mexico and Arizona. Scorpions lurk in the grass, getting their daily meal of insects. Sometimes pets might get in close range with a scorpion without knowing or chase after them at first sight. The only defense mechanism of a scorpion is its stinger. 

    The stinger of a scorpion contains a typically nonfatal venom. However, all scorpion stings cause tremendous pain for pets. If a scorpion bite is suspected, it is best to have it checked with your local veterinarian.

    Light brown dog laying in the grab rubbing it's nose with its paw

    Protecting Your Home

    Making sure your home is as protected from the harmful impact of urban wildlife as possible is very important to guaranteeing the safety of your pets. Though the presence of wildlife in environments does vary, so it’s best to become well informed and knowledgeable about the wild animals that are common to your local living environment. 

    Professional wildlife removal companies are most equipped to carry out your future wildlife prevention and removal. If you ever suspect your pet came into contact with any such wildlife, it is vital to register your concerns with a local vet.

    Brown and white spotted dog laying in the grass in a backyard with a stick between it's paws

    Author Bio

    Evelyn Bailey is a passionate pet owner who shares her knowledge of pet care by writing articles online. Evelyn’s articles are a huge help for first-time pet owners.

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