Rabies is a scary viral disease that is transmitted through a bit or cut—saliva or blood from an infected animal must pass into your dog’s bloodstream. Rabies can also be given to dogs if infected saliva comes in contact with their eyes, mouth, or nose. Worldwide, dogs are the most likely animal to affect humans with rabies, due to their close contact with each other.
Once signs of the disease develop, rabies is fatal. There is no cure, only prevention. Here are five steps you can take to decrease the risk of your dog contracting rabies.
1-Vaccinate Your Dog Against Rabies
The most helpful thing you can do to secure your dog from getting rabies is to keep her rabies vaccination up-to-date. Depending on your state’s laws and your dog’s health, treatments may be suitable for one to three years. The rabies vaccine secures your dog is preserved if she presented to an infected animal. However, you should still take your dog to a veterinarian immediately if you suspect she was bitten. The veterinarian will give her a booster vaccine and see her for signs of infection. Do not try to get the wild animal, but do try to remember the type of animal and details about the situation.
2-Avoid Direct Contact with Injured or Dead Wildlife
Even if that opossum was hit by a car, it might also have rabies. Keep pets and children away from injured or lifeless wildlife. People should not touch injured wildlife either without proper care (e.g., gloves, towels) and even then, only if they have a plan for where to take the animal. Most veterinarians will accept injured wildlife to humanely euthanize it or submit samples for rabies testing. Only some veterinary clinics can take care of non-domestic animals.
In the United States, there are programs in place to vaccinate some varieties of wildlife against rabies to help prevent transmission to pets and humans.
3-Supervise Your Dog Outdoors
If your dog likes to chase squirrels, rabbits, or other animals, he could get bitten or scratched. Rabid animals usually behave unusually. They are more aggressive, may appear excited, are found at times, or in atypical locations, or they may appear injured due to progressive paralysis. Even if that animal isn’t yet displaying symptoms of rabies or other illness, it does not mean it is not affected. It is especially dangerous because you may not think of bringing your dog to the vet for a minor scratch, and that puts him at risk.
4-Report Sick or Dead Animals
If that raccoon lives in the empty field down of the street, suddenly start showing up during the day, is acting aggressive, or is showing other changes in behavior, call for assistance. Never try to catch a wild animal. If you don’t know who to contact, you can call your local police station at the non-emergency number, and they can direct you to the proper authorities. In many locations, animal control officers are part of the police team and will respond. If the local animal control or other officials think the animal may have incurred rabies, it will be tested. The authorities can then issue an alert to help protect the pets in your neighborhood.
5-Stay Actively Informed About Rabies
Be conscious of the kinds of animals most likely to carry rabies where you live and how to avoid those animals.
The best action you can take to protect your dog, yourself, and others against rabies is to vaccinate your pet each time he is due. If all of the dogs in your neighborhood are treated, then the rabies virus can’t spread into the domesticated population. As a responsible pet parent, protecting your dog against rabies is one of the most natural, most effective things you can do for them.