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Chasing a squirrel around the back yard is probably one of the favorite past times for your pampered pooch or curious cat, but the adventurous hobby could be slightly more dangerous than you first thought. Wild animals just like squirrels can carry a host of disease, many of which will be invisible to the likes of you and I, all of which can be passed along … not just to your household pets, but also to people too, such as you, your partner, or perhaps even your kids.
Squirrels are pretty feisty animals. If a cat or dog were to attack them, playfully or otherwise, in the backyard, there's a chance that the flight reflex won't be the first one that comes out. Female squirrels are particularly aggressive when they have babies to take care of, and males can be just as angry when they are fighting for territories or mating rights. There's a chance that your pet could get bitten by its furry opponent, but the outcome could be so much more than mopping away a little bit of blood and making sure the wound doesn't become infected.
Will Squirrels Hurt Cats or Dogs?
Squirrels WILL bite, scratch, lash out and attack anything that gets too close if it feels the need to defend itself. A female can't just run off and scamper free when it has a nest to protect; it will stand its ground and fight. Deep wounds can be inflicted on domestic and agricultural animals, and sometimes these wounds will require stitches.
There are times when stitches are the least of your concerns. Squirrels can carry the rabies virus, although, it is considered to be rare. This is a disease that can take weeks and months to show, earlier symptoms being vague. If a squirrel in your back garden were to be carrying the rabies virus but still be in the early stages of the disease, it could pass on the virus to other animals without even appearing to be sick.
Diseases that Squirrels Can Give To Your Pet
Rabies isn't the only disease you need to worry about when your pets and squirrels come together. Leptospirosis is another condition that is carried by MANY pest animals, and there are no fewer than EIGHT different strands of bacteria that cause Leptospirosis that can affect dogs. You can get your dog vaccinated against the condition, but only for two of the eight strands, leaving it vulnerable to the remaining six.
Lyme disease is another one that you need to worry about with squirrels, but this disease is caused by ticks that squirrels carry. A tick can bite a squirrel and then bite a cat or dog, passing the disease along. Humans can also be affected by tick bites and Lyme disease.
You might think that allowing your pet cat or dog to chase squirrels around and out of the back yard is a good thing — letting nature do its thing — but it might end up being a costly mistake, especially if that squirrel passes something unpleasant along to your pet that requires veterinary treatment.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does squirrel removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of squirrels - my main squirrel removal info guide.
Example squirrel trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Squirrel job blog - learn from great examples of squirrel jobs I've done.
Squirrels in the attic - what to do to solve the problem.