One of the great appeals of our area is that we’re rich with beautiful landscapes and wildlife, though there are times when this can pose a danger to our furry friends. Learn more about the wildlife risks in our area with VETMED’s tips on how you can keep your pet safe from the less cuddly animals we cohabitate with.


We all know that famous sound! In the spring and summer months, rattlesnake sightings begin to increase, but even when the weather starts to cool in the fall they can still be encountered. Rattlesnake venom can be very toxic to pets and almost always requires the use of antivenin to counteract the poisons. While bites to dogs are often defensive, cats can be seen as prey to snakes and are often delivered a more dangerous attack.If your pet is bitten by a snake, seek medical attention immediately.


While javelinas are shy creatures that can be safely observed from a distance, they are strong and have extremely sharp tusks, so catching them by surprise or cornering them can be extremely dangerous for you or your pet. They have been known to become aggressive and charge to defend themselves when surprised or scared, using their tusks to inflict damage. They are also carriers of diseases like rabies and distemper, which can be passed on to your pet. If your pet is attacked by or comes into contact with a javelina, be sure to seek medical attention for him or her immediately.


Though canines themselves, coyotes aren’t always so friendly to their distant cousins. Coyote attacks occur most often at dawn or dusk and are usually directed toward smaller dogs or cats running free in a fenced yard. Injuries from these attacks are usually substantial and often require surgery. Coyotes are also a possible rabies reservoir species, so if your pet is bitten by a coyote, he or she is considered at risk for rabies.*


• Keep your pet on a short leash or observe closely when walking, especially at dusk and dawn.

• Clear your yard of any potential wildlife hiding places: untrimmed bushes, wood, scrap metal, leaf piles, open sheds or crawl spaces.

• Eliminate any rodent infestations from your backyard—they can attract snakes, coyotes, and bobcats.

• Do not allow your pet to play with dead snakes.

• Do not allow your pet to roam the yard freely without your presence, especially at dusk and dawn.

• Avoid dense grass and large rocks or caves, which can be havens for snakes, javelina, coyotes, and bobcats.

• If a wild animal acts aggressively towards you or your pet, make yourself appear larger using a jacket or by raising your arms, make loud noises,and slowly back away. Never turn your back to an aggressive animal.

• Javelinas are attracted to lush plants and flowers like succulents, aloe, cactus, fruit trees, etc. Be sure to secure your yard with a fence or barrierif you have plants that javelinas commonly eat.

If your pet has aggressive contact with any wild animal, be sure to bring him or her in to VETMED for treatment as soon as possible.

*A rabies reservoir species is one that is considered the source for a unique strain of rabies. All previously vaccinated pets that are attacked by a reservoir species should have a booster vaccine given by their family veterinarian within 4 days of the attack and should be observed for 45 days for signs of illness. Any pet that has not been previously vaccinated for rabies or has no documentation of vaccination should be given a rabies vaccine by their family veterinarian within 4 days and quarantined for 120 days while being observed for signs of illness.