You've heard this story before: someone's furry companion gets attacked by an alligator. Sometimes it ends well for the dog. Sometimes, not so much. As summer heats up and alligators become more active, knowing how to protect our beloved pets is a matter of life or death.
This article discusses why alligators are so active in the summer and how we can protect our dogs from attacks.
"Alligator Attacks Dog" Is NOT Uncommon
In Florida, where we have about 1.25 million alligators in the state, it's not uncommon for gators to mistake our furry companions for tasty snacks. Just this year, there have already been a few incidents so far.
- In early May, Mike McCoy saved his chocolate lab, Jake, from the jaws of a gator.
- About a week ago, in late May, a small dog was unfortunately killed by an alligator at a US Navy base in Florida. A manager at the Naval Station commented on that sad day.
"The owner's dog got out of the house without them knowing, and she went to try and find the dog, and, unfortunately, it ran down to the water."
Alligators Are More Active In Summer
As the water and state heat up, alligators are only going to get more active. Summertime is actually when the reptiles are the most active. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are two main reasons for this:
- Alligator mating season is May and June when they are extremely active.
- Hotter temperatures mean that the reptiles' metabolisms are more active, which means they need more food and are on the prowl for prey.
Because of increased alligator activity, it's especially important to keep our furry friends safe and sound. But how can we do that?
Tips to Protect Our Dogs This Summer
According to veterinarian Dr. Scarola,
“You have to be the smart one for your dog."
So let's talk about how we can protect our beloved pets. There are eight general safety tips in regards to alligators that you should keep in mind.
- Always use a leash to keep your pet from wandering too far away.
- Don't walk your pup near the edge of the lake or pond where an alligator could be waiting beneath the surface unseen.
- Don't let your pup play in the water unattended.
- Don't feed alligators, as it will make them lose their fear of people and cause them to be braver than we'd like!
- Keep your distance. Even on land, alligators can move really quickly.
- If you see an alligator while walking your dog, calmly move away from the alligator and the water.
- Especially avoid walking your dog near water at dawn or dusk, as this is prime feeding time for gators.
- If you let your dog into the backyard unattended and you border water, install a fence or barrier between your property and the water (if possible).
Follow these tips for a safer summer for both you and your pup!