Inside or outside, our pets have a habit of sticking their noses in things they shouldn’t. Normally this is no big deal, but there are some dangers lurking around that can cause your dog or cat serious harm. You may not be able to closely watch your pet 24/7, but having the proper knowledge about potential risks can go a long way towards preventing scary situations.
Vetstreet has put together a list of the top 10 creatures that dangerous to our pets. Read through and make sure you do your best to keep your pet is safe from these lethal threats:
These menacing creatures are very sneaky—pets may not even notice their scent or sound as they approach. A rattlesnake’s venom is extremely poisonous, and even a tiny bite can be life-threatening. Though most commonly found in the Southwestern part of the state, many states have rattlesnakes living within their borders; they frequent hiking trails, shrubbery, and heavily wooded areas. If your pet gets bitten, stay calm and seek immediate veterinary care.
Located mainly in Hawaii, Florida, and across the Deep South, these are not your average toads. Especially dangerous to dogs, they secrete a toxin from their skin that can cause heart failure. All your dog has to do to get exposed is lick the toad or hold it in his mouth. Fortunately, if you act quickly you can mitigate the harm caused by giant toads—as soon as you fear your pet has made contact with one, immediately run water into one side of his mouth, letting it come out the other side (just don’t run the water down into your pet’s throat). Then head directly to the vet.
Brown Recluse Spider
One of nature’s scariest spiders, the brown recluse is located primarily in the Midwest and South-Central United States. It’s bite is not initially alarming—your pet may not even feel it; but it can soon grow into a very serious deep tissue wound that requires surgery to correct. If you think your pet has been bitten by a brown recluse, don’t wait to find out—just get him straight to your veterinarian.
Though their venom is not quite as lethal as that of the rattlesnake, cottonmouth snakes (also known as “water moccasins”) still pose a serious threat to your pet. They reside mainly in the Southeast, and can be found swimming in the shallow parts of ponds and lakes. They mainly only bite if provoked first, but your pet may not know to stay away-so if you’re in an area where they might be lurking, stay aware. As with rattlesnakes, if your pet gets bitten stay calm and seek immediate veterinary care.
These scary sounding lizards are found in the Southwest, and their bites are both painful and dangerous. Though it’s unlikely you’ll ever run into one (they’re pretty rare), it’s still important that you know what to do in the event your pet is bitten. Gila monsters hang on when they bite, and can be nearly impossible to remove with your hands. Vetstreet recommends spraying some water or rubbing alcohol onto the lizard’s nose—this should make him let go. Their venom is usually not life-threatening, but do go straight to the vet to have your pet checked out.
Black Widow Spider
With venom 10 times stronger than that of rattlesnakes, black widow spider bites are potentially very serious—especially for cats, who are more sensitive to the poison. They’re abundantly located in the South, although you can run into them in most of the Western hemisphere. And although they are actually relatively non-aggressive, your pet may walk through a spider web or sit on a black widow, and then the spider will bite. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pet is bitten.
If you live in the South or the West chances are you’ve encountered these tiny critters with a super painful bite. Fire ant bites are not very harmful, but they do cause tenderness and soreness in the bitten area, so if your pet gets bitten rinse the affected spot with water, and have him take it easy for a while. You shouldn’t need to call the vet, but if you notice odd symptoms, or the pain does not appear to be subsiding after a few days, it’s a good idea to go in and have your pet looked at.
Eastern Coral Snake
Yes, another threat in the form of a slithery snake. Coral snakes have bands of black, yellow, and red on their body; you can actually use these colors to determine if the Coral snake you see is venomous or not—the rhyme is: “Red touch yellow kills a fellow. Red touch black, venom lack.” (Catchy, right?) Located in the South, from North Carolina to eastern Texas, Coral snakes are highly toxic and their venom can stop a pet’s breathing. Unlike rattlesnakes, though, Coral snakes must hold on for a while to dispense their venom—a quick bite won’t do much. So if you see your pet getting bitten, use a large stick to get the snake off. Go immediately to the vet if your pet has been bitten.
Nobody likes a bee sting. And for some pets, just like for some people, a sting by a bee can cause a very serious allergic reaction. Fatal stings are rare, but you still need to be careful. If you notice your pet swelling up around a bite, take him to the vet. If you can’t get right to the vet, give your pet an antihistamine such as Benadryl (though do ask your vet first what the proper dosage for your pet is).
Raccoons are the most frequently reported rabid wild animal, though they’re not prone to biting. If your pet gets bit—even if he is already vaccinated for rabies—you need to go right to the vet.
You can’t always protect your pet from dangers, but you can always be aware of the potential risks out there. Fortunately, most pets live their whole lives without ever coming into contact with any of these lethal critters!