My Pet World: Could my dog ​​hurt or kill a wild rabbit if he catches one? | Pets

Dear Cathy: I have a 4 year old beagle, Buddy, who I adopted two years ago. from South Carolina. I believe it was a hunting dog. We have a fenced in yard and a dog door so when we are home we let Buddy come in and out as he pleases.

Recently, rabbits have started venturing into our yard. If Buddy smells them, he screams and goes crazy trying to find them. Since our fence is chain link, I’m guessing the rabbits somehow get through or under it. Buddy never caught one, but I’m afraid if he did, would he hurt them?

I’m afraid to let it out in the yard if I’m not there to watch carefully, but I can’t be there as much as Buddy likes to be outside. Can you tell me if he would hurt a rabbit if he caught one? — Carol, Wading River, New York

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Dear Carol: Unfortunately, even domestic animals, dogs and cats, have a strong instinctive desire to chase, bite and kill prey. He can injure a rabbit trying to grab it with a single puncture wound, or he can put the animal in his mouth and shake it instinctively, which is what dogs do to kill their prey. (We often see an example of this when a dog is playing with a stuffed animal.)

This does not make your dog a vicious killer, but if this instinct is strong in your dog, you need to be more vigilant when Buddy is around small animals.

Here are four things you can do to keep small animals safe in your yard:

First, at certain times of the year (mainly spring and summer), you may not be able to give Buddy free rein. Get out first, clap your hands, stomp your feet, shake a box of coins, or ring a bell to let all the creatures in your garden know to move on. So let your dog out. I know it takes more effort, but it’s worth not worrying about whether your dog is going to harm a small creature.

Second, if you have plants or a garden that attract small animals, consider transplanting them into pots so they can’t reach them. The goal is to deter them from entering your garden.

Third, regularly check the yard for rabbit nests and block your dog from these areas until the babies leave on their own. Rabbits build shallow nests of grass and fur in the ground, which can be under bushes and trees or in the open.

Finally, teach your dog to “drop it” or “drop it” so that if he chases an animal, you can tell him to stop from several feet away.

Dear Cathy: We welcome a kitten who was thrown out of a car. He has had two visits to the vet and is slowly gaining weight. He started his injections and tested negative for heartworm and leukemia.

The problem is that I myself have four older cats and we couldn’t teach her to use the litter box. Believe me, we have tried everything. I found him a home, but he will be an indoor cat. Do you have any suggestions for helping its new owners? — Anne, St. Helena Island, South Carolina

Dear Anne: Thank you for saving this kitten. This kitten will probably do best when not competing with four other cats. Inform new adopters of the situation and recommend that they put the kitten in a bathroom or bedroom for a day or two with an uncovered litter box. (Cats should be introduced to their new spaces very slowly so they don’t get overwhelmedwhich can cause stress and possible litter problems.)

Tell the adopters to mix a litter box attractant (available at pet stores and online) into the litter. When they’ve finally let the kitten out of the bathroom or bedroom, advise them to keep a litter box there (at least until the kitten gets used to its surroundings) and to place a second litter box in another low-traffic area of ​​the house. .

Have them place baskets and empty boxes around the house so he has safe places to hide and time to build his confidence. They can also get him a pheromone collar for 30-90 days, especially since he is a kitten and may have been taken from his mother too soon.

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