Your pet is the most curious critter—no detail is too small for them to investigate. The great outdoors provides a plethora of opportunities to sniff new and exciting objects, and to encounter some wild creatures who could pose a threat to your beloved pet. The team at Scripps Ranch Veterinary Hospital wants to educate you on the local wildlife, and to provide information on precautions you should take to keep your pet safe and secure.

Curate coyote cunning to keep your pet safe

There may not be a roadrunner in sight, but their nemesis is becoming more prevalent in urban areas. As the metropolitan spread continues to encroach on the coyote’s natural habitat, they are making themselves at home right outside your back door. Coyotes do not frequently bother domestic pets, but they are closely related to dogs, and can transmit diseases, such as rabies and distemper, and may attack a cat or small dog if they are desperate. By following a few safety measures, you can prevent your pet from harm.

  • Never intentionally feed a coyote. They instinctively shy away from humans, but if you provide coyotes food, they will perceive humans as a food source and lose their wariness.
  • Never feed your pet outside. The coyote’s sensitive nose will lead them to the leftover food and dirty bowls, and they will mark your yard as an easy place to find a quick bite.
  • Clean your grill between uses with ammonia or bleach.
  • Enclose your garbage and compost.
  • Never leave your pet alone outdoors.
  • Avoid taking walks in the dark—if you must walk at night, carry a flashlight.
  • A six-foot-high fence buried at least six inches will keep a coyote from invading your yard. You can also install a coyote roller to prevent them from climbing over the fence.

Coyotes give birth in April and are more aggressive from April to August as they defend their pups. If your pet is attacked by a coyote, they must see our team at Scripps Ranch Veterinary Hospital as soon as possible.

Be totally toad aware to tend to your pet

The Colorado River toad is the largest native toad in the United States. They range in color from olive green to dark brown and have a cream colored underbelly. They have distinctive oval glands behind each eye, and visible glands on their hind legs. When provoked, the glands under their jaw secrete a milky white toxin that can be fatal to your pet if ingested. Keep your pet safe by observing these recommendations.

  • Never allow your pet outside alone.
  • Keep your pet leashed.
  • Always check an object that your pet is investigating. If your pet sniffs or licks the toad, they can become ill.
  • Never keep food or water bowls outside. If your pet ingests food or water that a toad has contaminated, they can also become ill.

Toad toxin exposure will cause your pet to drool excessively, paw at their face, and vomit. Signs can progress to seizures, irregular heartbeat, shock, and death in only 30 minutes to several hours. If your pet ingests toxin, use a water hose to rinse their mouth out for 5 to 10 minutes, and then take them to Scripps Ranch Veterinary Hospital immediately. Be aware that the Colorado River toad’s mating season is from May to July, and they are more active during this time. 

Safeguard your pet with savvy snake skills

Six species of venomous snakes reside in California. They are all classified as pit vipers and can be identified by their triangular heads, vertical pupils, and facial pits between their eyes and nostrils.

  • Western rattlesnake
  • Western diamondback
  • Southwestern speckled rattlesnake
  • Sidewinder
  • Mojave rattlesnake
  • Red diamond rattlesnake

The rattlesnake’s venom is hemotoxic, and causes excessive bleeding and tissue damage. Death rates are higher in pets who are bitten on the chest and face. Survival is also dependent on your pet’s size in relation to the snake, and how many times they are bitten. If your pet survives the initial 24 hours after the bite, the tissue damage could be severe, leading to the need for skin grafts or amputation. To prevent your pet from a snake bite, heed this advice.

  • Never leave your pet alone outside.
  • Keep your pet on a leash.
  • Do not allow your pet to stick their head into holes or under heavy vegetation.
  • Walk on well-cultivated paths so you can see what is ahead.
  • Observe whatever your pet investigates.
  • If you see a snake, stay far away.

Most snakes will not bother humans or pets, but will attack if they feel threatened. If a snake bites your pet, do not attempt to suck out the venom, which will not help, and will only waste precious time. Keep your pet as still and quiet as possible and take them to Scripps Ranch Veterinary Hospital immediately.

This information will help you keep your pet safe when traversing the wilds beyond your front door. However, if your pet experiences an ill-fated wildlife encounter, promptly contact the team at Scripps Ranch Veterinary Hospital.