Local Pet Predators: Coyotes
Coyotes tend to turn to easy prey when their usual food source is dwindling. And they are wandering into neighborhoods and yards more in recent years. This leaves outdoor cats and small dogs susceptible to an attack. There are a few things you can do to keep your pets safe from coyotes at home:
- Get some coyote vests or other accessories to protect your pet
- Install a coyote-proof fence
- Clean up dog poop so the coyotes can’t smell it
- Leave a light on at night
- Don’t leave pets outside unsupervised
Local Pet Predators: Hawks and Birds of Prey
You may see a hawk circling your yard even near the city if you have cats or small dogs. Small pets are at risk of being grabbed by a hawk or owl (or bald eagle in certain parts of the state) and lifted straight out of their own yards. Make sure to keep a watch on small pets who are outside and bring them in if you see a hawk or other large bird of prey circling your yard.
Local Pet Predator: Foxes
Foxes live in towns and suburbs to scavenge for food, but generally won’t attack pets unless they or their young are threatened, or they are very hungry. They have been known to go after miniature dogs and cats so it is best to keep your pets safe. Foxes can dig under fences so a small pet left out doors in a fenced yard could still be at risk. The best thing to do is let the fox go on his way and prevent your pet from engaging. If your pet is bitten though, be sure to have them checked for rabies.
Michigan Pet Predators: Gray Wolves
Gray wolves sometimes attack other dogs if they feel like they are threatening their territory. If you are bringing your dog camping or hiking, especially in northern Michigan, keep your dog on a leash (or in your tent). Try not to leave any dirty food or utensils around, and don’t leave your garbage unsecured. You can also carry bear spray, which can help you in case of a potential altercation between your dog and a wolf.
Michigan Pet Predators: Bears
Speaking of bears, they are another Michigan pet predator that could hurt your pets if you are not careful. Bears do not typically attack small animals, but they might if they feel like your pet is infringing on their food supply. Typically, a bear that is startled will run up a tree, but they will sometimes fight back if they feel threatened.
If you encounter a bear, most likely in northern Michigan, while with your dog:
- Avoid any big movements and try to exit the bear’s perimeter slowly until you are in a safe location
- Avoid direct eye contact and speak in a calm voice
- If the bear starts moving toward you, wave your arms around and make yourself look as big as possible
Michigan Pet Risk: Porcupines and Their Quills
Although they might not seem like predators in the traditional sense, porcupines can be really dangerous for your pets. If they get involved in an altercation, the porcupine will use its 30,000 spines to defend itself. If any of these get lodged into a dog or cat’s soft tissue, they can move to other areas of the body. Porcupine quills are very painful for pets, and they can even cause internal damage to joints or organs. If your dog or cat encounters a porcupine, it is important to visit the veterinarian right away to remove all the quills.
Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about bobcats and mountain lions that can hop high fences like in some parts of the country. But there are predator threats nearby and in the state that see our dogs and cats as easy prey.
If you are worried about pet predators attacking your dog when you leave them home alone, Union Lake Pet Services has dog boarding and daycare options for you. Our dedicated team can watch over your pets when you can’t to ensure they are content and safe throughout the day. To learn more about our pet services or to make a reservation, please call (248) 363-6262.