Dogs and Raccoons
In my last post on Dogs and Armadillos, I promised I would talk about how to prevent raccoons on your property and what to do should your dog decide to go after one. Here is something I did not know…raccoons will go after a cat to kill it just for sport. A raccoon will fight a dog to let it die slowly. The dog almost always loses the battle with a raccoon.
“I buy expensive toys and Nylabones for the dogs but what do they love better…an old towel tied in a knot!” “Then they wore themselves out” :-). “Jake wasn’t relinquishing control though”. haa haa
Here is a raccoon’s modus operandi when it attacks a dog: The raccoon attempts to scratch out the dog’s eyes. The raccoon rolls the dog onto its back and attempts to eviscerate it. Raccoons bite and scratch with amazing speed and ferocity. Their bites often penetrate the chest wall, leading to collapsed lungs. They may penetrate the abdomen, leading to septic peritonitis. They also have a knack for lacerating the urethra, causing urine to accumulate underneath the skin, resulting in terrible scalding and possible secondary kidney failure.
It is not recommend that you try to step in and break up the fight yourself by pulling on the dogs tail or leg. It could hurt your dog and weaken his defense against the raccoon. Depending on how long the fight has been in progress, your dog could have traces of the raccoon’s saliva in any number of places. If the raccoon has rabies, your dog could pass it on to you if you have any sort of open scratch or cut or if you inadvertently touch your mouth or eyes with the saliva on your hands. He could also pass it on to one of your other pets or family members the same way.
Try using a 2 x 4, a long handled rake or shovel to help pry the two apart, an air horn, fire extinguisher, or water hose. Just try not to spray your dogs face with the fire extinguisher which could be very hard to do while they are in the middle of a raccoon fight. Then use gloves to pick up your dog and quarantine him until you can get to a vet. Get your pet to the vet immediately after an altercation with a raccoon. Your pet can seem fine up to 6 months after being bitten by a raccoon who is carrying the rabies virus. I know this all sounds odd considering this all takes time and when your dog is in the middle of a fight, you are not thinking clearly enough to run and hook up a hose or grab a pair of gloves for that matter.
To get rid of any pesky raccoons, take away their sources of food. Make your yard unappealing for them to make a home. Strap down the garbage lids, take away the bird feeders, and get rid of any sources of water. If you are thinking of removing them yourselves, raccoons are very smart and can figure out a trap. If your raccoon has babies, they will starve without the mother. It is best to call someone to remove them property and humanely without using poison or other in-humane tactics.
If animal control refuses to come, ask them for the number of a local wildlife rehabilitator and get advice tailored to your specific location.
Another option is to contact a licensed professional trapper who will have been vaccinated against rabies, to take care of this for you. If it’s a family of raccoons, they can relocate the entire bunch together.
Wild animals carry diseases and they can wonder into your yard at any time. Before I let the dogs out at night, I turn on our back flood lights so that I can see the entire yard. I scan the yard for any movement as I’m walking out. We have 6 lights placed in 3 places which lights up the yard and sometimes I think we need more. I still can’t forget the early morning when I ran into 2 very large coyotes coming from the back of our property behind our shed. I did not see them until they were right behind me. Turns out they were wolf/coyote hybrids that were running our property for a while. Fortunately for me, they let me and the dogs be but I didn’t take any chances and immediately but carefully walked back to the garage!
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