I wanted to cover this topic in light of the toddler dying from the gator attack in Orlando.
Please, please keep eyes on your pets when out in nature.
Since I live in Florida there are gators here so I can’t stress how much pet parents need to keep their eyes open. Gators blend very well in their environment so try to keep your dogs out of lakes, ponds, streams, etc because there could be a threat of a gator lurking in it.
So I wanted to share some information I found to help those who live in Florida or near areas where gators are known to lurk or for those thinking about visiting Florida.
(And yes, most of this information pertains to dogs, but can be used for cats if you happen to have a cat that likes to hike around on a leash or a guinea pig or ferret)
Facts & Safety Tips
- Leave alligators alone. Alligators are shy animals that usually avoid human contact.
- Pay attention. Keep an eye on your surroundings near fresh or brackish waters. Avoid vegetation-filled areas of rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water.
- Do not feed alligators. Feeding alligators is illegal. Alligators that are fed will come to associate humans with food and will lose their natural fear.
- Throw fish scraps into trash cans. Do not discard fish scraps in the water at fish camps or boat ramps—you will unintentionally feed alligators.
- Follow directions on signs. Do not swim outside of posted swimming areas.
- Swim during daylight hours only. Alligators are most active at night.
- Stay with children. Never allow small children to play unattended near water.
- Keep an eye on your pets. Dogs are in more danger from alligators than humans, because they resemble the reptiles’ natural prey. Do not let your dog swim in waters where you know alligators live.
- Remember the odds. You are more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by an alligator in Florida.
Call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission if you spot one in Florida, or if you have a nuisance gator in your area: 1-866-FWC-GATOR.
Here’s a wonderful article about gator safety and dogs from All Things Dog Blog
Now let’s not forget about snakes because not only is Florida home to the Diamondback and the Cottonmouth but there are several other states they reside in.
So here’s a helpful graph of how to tell the non-venomous from venomous snakes.
Avoid chance encounters with snakes:
- Keep your yard tidy by clearing away undergrowth, toys and tools that make great hiding places for snakes.
- Keep walkways clear of brush, flowers and shrubs.
- Clean up any spilled food, fruit or bird seed, which can attract rodents-and therefore snakes-to your yard.
- When walking your pet, keep him on a leash.
- Steer your pet clear of long grasses, bushes and rocks.
- Snakes can strike across a distance equal to about half their body length. If you see a snake, head back the way you came.
- Familiarize yourself with snakes who are common in your area. In the event of a bite, identifying the type of snake may help with your pet’s treatment.
(taken from: http://pets.webmd.com/snake-bite-safety-prevention-pet)
Just in case your dog ever gets bit when you’re not around, memorize these snake bite symptoms so you can identify the problem:
- Signs of pain
- Shortness of breath
- Low blood pressure
- Dead tissue surrounding wound
If you suspect your dog has been bitten seek immediate emergency veterinarian care. If you are able to kill or capture the snake then do so. Successfully identifying the snake will allow doctors to treat your pup all the better.
Here’s a very important number to remember:
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.
(Taken from : http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control)