7 Ways to Keep Pets Safe From Wildlife

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Keep pets safe from wildlife during your RV travels.

Imagine that one minute you and your dog are out hiking, the next you’re fleeing from an enraged hawk or worse. Would you know what to do? When my German Shepherd was attacked, I didn’t, nor did I know that wild animal attacks on pets of all sizes happen all the time. Now I follow these easy ways to avoid scary confrontations with hawks, coyotes, bears and other species.

Photo: WhitcombeRD/iStock

Wild animal attacks on pets of all sizes happen for many reasons

We were walking in a state park when suddenly a large, angry great horned owl swooped down seemingly from nowhere to sink her razor sharp talons into my dog’s back. I screamed, held on tight to his leash and ran. The bird continued the assault until we put enough distance between us. My dog was unharmed, but shaken.

I knew that predator attacks on small dogs happen all the time, but until that day it seemed impossible that my 80-pound pooch could be at risk. It never occurred to me that when a wild animal feels threatened, any size of pet and the human are in danger. Now I take steps to prevent another attack by following these pet safety tips from wildlife management experts.

Leashes saves pets’ lives

Off-leash pets are the most common victims of wild-animal attacks on pets, so never go walking without one. Flat leashes are your best bet, while retractable leashes should be avoided to minimize the risk of getting tangled up in an encounter.

Supervise your pets at all times

Portable outdoor pet kennels are great additions to your RV, but they will not protect your pet from an angry predator. Don’t allow your pet to stay outside in one without supervision.

Pick up the droppings

Dog and cat feces are a delicacy to coyotes and wolves, and also leave a trail to your tasty pet. Wolf safety experts say that the simple act of picking up poop helps keep predators away from your home and campsite.

Feed pets inside the RV

Don’t allow your pets to dine al fresco. Dropped kibble is an attractant, and if a lazy cougar, wolf, bear or coyote is nearby, they might move in to pick up the mess and have your pet for dessert.

Leave the bird feeders at home

Many RVers love carrying bird feeders, but wild predatory animals like them just as much. That’s because when bird seed is dropped on the ground, it attracts mice, which sound the dinner bell for hungry rodent eaters.

Watch for nests and other breeding signals

The owl attack on my dog was entirely my fault. It was February, which was breeding time for Great Horned Owls. Had I been more observant, I would have looked up to see a giant nest nearby, where the territorial carnivore was ferociously guarding her owlets. The same thing probably would have happened if it was a coyote or wolf guarding a den. If you spot signs of a pack nearby, be extra vigilant.

Keep your distance

Even the smallest dog is seen as a threat by the largest creatures like moose and bears. If you see one of these wooly mammoths nearby while hiking with your dog, do everything you can to avoid getting closer. Even a docile dog can provoke an attack. Slowly move away and go the other direction if you see a moose, or follow these bear safety facts so you can live to tell about the encounter.

It doesn’t take a genius to avoid wild animal attacks on pets. All you need is a little common sense and a leash for a drama-free adventure wherever you roam.

Check out more tips on RV pet care.

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2 comments

  1. Anonymous

    Watch it out there as you are their guests sharing their home not your home! We all can live together in some way if we just understand the boundaries between being friends or foe! Just use your head for something other than a lace to put your hat.

  2. Anonymous

    The best way to protect your pet and the back country is to leave your pet at home. Don’t hike with your pet. Pets, especially dogs attract large predators and scare off the natural inhabitants. Not to mention the urine marking of rocks and trees plus the barking which destroys the natural sounds or quite of the back country. I know you love your pet, many like a child witnessed by the abundance of them in grocery stores and restaurants. Please remember that it is your pet not our pet, we shouldn’t have to be put out by it. Leave the pet where they are safe, at home.