The rabies virus is a small threat to domestic pets in this modern era, however the disease still exist amongst wild animals. While few pets are likely to contract rabies with the proper care and necessary precautions, it is better to be safe rather than sorry. Here are some helpful tips about how you can protect your cat or dog from the disease.

Preventing Rabies

Get vaccinated. This is the first and most important step in protecting your pet from this kind of virus. The only thing separating your pet and wild animals from susceptibility is the rabies vaccine. It can last up to 3 years from when it is initially administered, and may be supported through booster shots in the years that follow. When your cat or dog is over 8 weeks old, speak with your veterinarian about when the animal is able to receive the vaccine.

Limit contact with other animals. Though we advise most pet parents to keep their animals inside, we know that simply walking a dog, or hiking in the hills could bring about unwanted exposure. Try to be actively aware of where your pet is and what other animals he is interacting with.

Obedience train your pet. This might seem like an unrelated issue, but having a dog that returns the moment you call him, or is reliable when it comes to a response times, could be the very thing that saves him. If are on a walk in the Sierra Nevada mountains while vacationing at Lake Tahoe, and your dog starts chasing after a raccoon, you will need to know that if you call the pup back, he will abandon pursuit of the potentially rabid animal and come trotting toward you unscathed.

Watch for intruders. You might think the skunk you spot in your hydrangea bushes is adorable, or you might be partial to those visits Ricky the raccoon makes looking for food. But remember that these animals could be hazardous, and before you let your pup out to do his business before, check to make sure they are not hiding somewhere in the backyard. A rabid animal might appear to be perfect normal and healthy as it can take several weeks before symptoms begin to show. Always contact the local animal control if you see an unfamiliar creature on your property.

Supervise animals whenever they are outside. Even if there appears to be no intruder in your yard, or no immediate danger, you may not be aware of everything going on, or an animal lurking in a dark corner. Because conflict can escalate quickly, it would be wise to be nearby whenever your pet plays outside, in case your pup should happen upon a potentially rabid animal who could attack.

Discuss your concerns with any pet sitter and dog walker you hire. Whenever you leave your dog or cat in the care of someone else, be sure to inform them about how attentive you’d like them to be whenever they take your dog to a new place outdoors or are playing in the yard. If you or your neighbors have seen any raccoons, possums, skunks, bats, (or even groundhogs) in the area, then encourage them to be on the alert and keep their distance from those creatures.