This incident serves as an important reminder to keep pets close in Colorado’s many wild areas. Predators tend to follow prey, meaning that if big game, like deer, are present, there’s a chance for mountain lions and bears to be lurking, too.
When it comes to protecting pets in areas where wildlife is present, here are a few simple tips:
1. Keep pets indoors
The most obvious way to protect a pet from wildlife outside is to keep the pet inside. Limiting outdoor time helps to limit the risk.
2. Avoid using chains
If an animal is chained outside, it limits their ability to escape or protect themselves should an attack occur. Instead of leaving an animal chained up outside, let them outside unchained and under close supervision.
3. Design a pet’s outdoor environment to be safer
If you’re living in mountain lion country and will be leaving animals outside for an extended period of time, utilize products like a fully-enclosed dog run. A small (read: not predator-sized) doggie door allowing access into the home can also be a great way to provide your pet with an escape should their safety be threatened.
4. Never feed animals outside
Remnants of food can attract predators. Do your best to keep food and treats in indoor spaces. Predators typically have a great sense of smell and the scent of food can be a major attractant. Outdoor water bowls can also attract predators in regions where water is scarce. Give your pet water while they’re outside, but don’t leave it sitting around.
5. Scoop your pet’s poop
Thanks to all of that great dog food you feed Fido, Fido’s feces smells quite appealing to scavengers like raccoons and coyotes. Removing feces from a yard can help keep wild animals away.
6. Walk pets on a leash
Keeping a pet close during a walk along the trail can be a great deterrent to predators, as predators are much less likely to attack a pet when a human is nearby. Even if your dog stays relatively close while unleashed, you never know what could be lurking in a nearby bush or how your pet might respond should a predator appear.
7. Consider fencing
While many large animals can easily scale most fencing, this yard feature can still be a good deterrent that has animals prioritizing other spots first.
8. Install safety lights and other surprising devices
Mountain lions don’t like being startled, meaning deterrents like motion-sensor lighting can be an effective means of keeping some wildlife away.
9. Closely monitor pets while outside
When your pets are outside, keep a watchful eye. Don’t leave them unsupervised and unprotected, as this makes them susceptible to an attack.
10. Be mindful of potential threats
Prior to letting your dog outside, be mindful of the area. Consider walking the perimeter to scare off any animals that might be lurking.
11. Keep garbage cans secure
Many wild species view an unsecured garbage can as an all-they-can-eat buffet. Plus, once a wild animal has found food in one spot, they’re much more likely to return to the same spot for more food. Keep your trash cans secure from wildlife to prevent animals from showing up in search of a late-night snack.
Protecting your animals in a wild area is a proactive effort. It’s crucial that you take preventative steps to help make your pet safer while outside.