On September 11, 2001, a yellow Lab named Roselle calmly led her blind owner down 1,463 steps as debris from the twin towers fell around them, according to a report on Today.com. Dogs are often ready and willing to keep humans out of harm’s way, but we don’t always think about how we can return the favor. From snakes to insects, everyday predators can cause minor, or even fatal, injuries to our beloved pets. Protect your dogs by knowing what to watch for on your next walk or play date at the park. It could mean the difference between a happy day outdoors or one filled with heartache.

Protect Your Dog From Snakes

Snakes

The Canine Health Foundation reassures that snakes only bite when injured or sensing a threat. Unfortunately, a curious or nervous dog can unintentionally provoke a snake. The best prevention is knowing your venomous snakes, including cottonmouths, rattlesnakes, copperheads and coral snakes. Unfortunately, the varied species of these snakes can make it difficult to know what’s poisonous and what’s merely a nuisance. Use a site like Herper.com to find out more information about what types of snakes and invertebrates are venomous.

Next, snake-proof your yard by keeping brush low and putting away containers of water and scraps of wood. Dismantle piles of rocks and bricks to scare away appetizing rodents from a snake’s path. When going on a nature walk, keep your dog close, stay on open paths and seek immediate medical attention if your dog is bitten. The Bark.com also recommends getting a snake-bite vaccine to help lessen the effects of an attack, but warns that your dog will still require immediate treatment if bitten.

Coyotes

Coyotes live in every state but Hawaii and will eat everything from fruit to animals, including dogs. Install a coyote-proof fence around your yard and motion lighting to deter wild animals from coming into your yard and confronting your dog. Waving a flashlight or throwing rocks and yelling at them aggressively could fend them off long enough to make a quick escape.

According to NBC, a man living in the Chicago suburbs tried to kick and nudge an aggressive coyote away from his small terrier. When that didn’t work, the man grabbed the coyote by the scruff of the neck and lower back and heaved the coyote into a snowbank and yelled at him to scare him away. Fortunately, coyotes know when they’re overpowered and usually make a quick escape.

Birds of Prey

Your dog’s biggest predator could be above you. Birds of prey, like certain hawk species, can have wingspans over five feet and eat voles, shrews and small animals. People have reported seeing hawks swoop down and try to snatch away their small dogs like Chihuahuas. Keep your dog on a leash at all times in wooded areas or lush parks that invite birds to nest. Take a look to see if your favorite haunts are known to attract birds of prey and find somewhere else to play instead. And if a bird swoops down for your pooch, try covering it with a jacket or blanket and find shelter as quickly as possible.

Insects

Despite their tiny size, insects like fleas and ticks can make your dog sick. And it’s not just humans who get Lyme disease. Dogs can get debilitating strains too and suffer from fever, painful joints and swollen lymph nodes. Fleas can also make your dog sick and irritate the skin from bites. Check your dog after playtime outside, consider trimming down your dog’s hair and cut back brush and foliage in your yard where insects are prone to living.

Filed under: All About Dogs

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!