As Canadians, we know that anything involving sun and a temperature above freezing will get us outside for walks and other activities with our canine family members. And despite patches of snow and ice, local fur-bearers are in spring mode, searching for mates, dens, and a quick snack.
Sometimes, that means conflict will happen. Fortunately, we can make simple changes to our behaviours that lead to this conflict, and keep everyone – human, domestic pets, and wildlife – safe. Here are a few quick tips:
- Check out the backyard. Property fences are pretty much meaningless to every species on the planet except for humans. Animals of all sizes and shapes will, from time to time, wander into backyards, so head outside when your dog goes out for a bathroom break or play session. You can also spend this time looking for (and addressing) attractants, potential den sites, and evidence of animals trying to get into structures.
- Stay on leash. Dogs are going to follow their senses, and that’s often what gets them into trouble. Please keep your dog leashed when not in designated areas and be aware of how much a threat they appear to local animals, particularly those with young babies or dens nearby. You should also be aware of local trapping and hunting regulations, as they extend into spring in many jurisdictions.
- Learn about local wildlife and issues. Do you know how to haze coyotes, how to identify ticks on your dog, or who to call if there’s an injured raccoon on your deck? Understanding your local ecosystem can provide you a leg-up in preventing conflict and responding to it responsibly if it does occur. Talk to your veterinarian, local wildlife groups, or visit your local library to learn more about nearby wildlife and related issues in your community.
We look forward to seeing some wonderful pictures of muddy, happy dogs this spring! Please send them in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post to our walls on Facebook and Twitter!