Incidents with coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, or bears can all be prevented.
With warm weather adventures in full swing, being aware of your pet's safety out of the house needs to be kept at the forefront of your mind. Colorado is home to bears, coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions, which all can be found in the backcountry, as well as in the suburbs.
"Mom, he said he wanted to share some good catnip, can we let him in?"
That being said, taking proper precautions before letting your pet roam the yard or taking in a weekend hike need to be remembered, for both their safety and yours.
Put your pet on a leash. By keeping your pet close as you venture outdoors, it signals to a predator that your dog is not going to be an easy target and you won't have to worry about it not coming back to you after wandering off the trail.
Don't leave any food sources outside. This reduces the likelihood of wild animals wandering onto your property.
Build a fence. Often easier said than done, but animals like coyotes are notorious high jumpers and if you live in an area that is prevalent with them, it's worth thinking it over.
Keep yard vegetation trimmed. When a potential predator has precious few places to hide and stalk prey, it's less likely they'll use that location as a reliable hunting ground. You'll also have more visibility of your own property and be able to quickly spot something (or someone) that shouldn't be there.
If the park sign says "No Dogs Allowed," obey it. The park staff doesn't hate dogs, they know that dogs mark their territory and, in doing so, this can cause a disruption in the terrain of wild animals. Remember, you're wandering into their territory.
Keep pets vaccinated. We saw what happened in Old Yeller, so for the sake of not having to put your dog down after a scrape with a rabid animal, get those shots taken care of.
Be wary of walks during nighttime, dusk, and dawn. This is when mountain lions are most active and if you have to go outside, stick to areas that are well-lit or the backyard.
Clean up after your pet. Believe it or not, dog poop acts as a lure to wild animals rather quickly. Undigested food in your dog's leavings can be smelled by bears, coyotes, and other wild animals with a keen sense of smell.
If there is a sighting in your neighborhood, contact animal control. By alerting authorities, they can keep track of a particular animal's whereabouts and determine whether the animal needs to be relocated or put down. This not only keeps pets safe but small children as well.
If you're new to Colorado or just visiting, remember these tips when coming across our regional wildlife.