Receiving Deadly Gifts of Love from Your Pet? Here’s How to Safeguard Your Home

When your beloved pet drags a deceased creature through your door, it’s a stark reminder of their ancestral instincts.

This behavior, while alarming, is deeply ingrained in their DNA. Domestication hasn’t fully tamed their predatory drives, a trait that once served essential purposes in the wild and during the early stages of human-animal companionship for hunting and pest control.

Check your pet for any injuries or signs of illness if they bring home something dead.

Photo: Pexels
Check your pet for any injuries or signs of illness if they bring home something dead.

Health Risks Associated with Dead Animals

The act of bringing home dead animals isn’t just unsettling; it poses significant health risks. Dead prey can harbor diseases like rabies, parasites, or even carry poisons they’ve ingested. This can be harmful not only to your pet but to your family as well.

In recent cases, individuals have contracted rare diseases such as Alaskapox and the bubonic plague through contact with infected animals, CNN reportts. Thus, understanding the potential dangers is crucial for ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

Clean the area where your pet brought the dead animal to remove any residue or germs.

Photo: Pexels
Clean the area where your pet brought the dead animal to remove any residue or germs.

Immediate Steps to Take

Upon discovering that your pet has brought home an unwelcome gift, it’s essential to remain calm and not punish your pet. They believe they are providing for you, a behavior rooted in their instinct to hunt and share with their pack.

Firstly, ensure the animal is indeed dead and not just injured or playing dead. If alive, it’s best to contact animal control for safe removal. If deceased, Cuteness recommends wearing gloves, and to dispose of the carcass securely to prevent your pet from retrieving it again. Thorough handwashing after handling is imperative to avoid disease transmission.

Securely dispose of the carcass to prevent your pet from retrieving it again.

Photo: Pexels
Securely dispose of the carcass to prevent your pet from retrieving it again.

Preventing Future Incidents

Prevention is key to stopping these unwanted deliveries. Supervising pets outdoors and training commands like “leave it” can be effective, especially for dogs, Skedaddle Wildlife reports. Keeping cats indoors or using collars with bells can reduce their hunting success.

Regular vaccinations and check-ups are essential to protect against diseases that dead animals might carry. Additionally, maintaining a clean yard and using pest control measures can minimize the presence of wildlife that could become potential prey.

Supervise your pet's outdoor activities to monitor their behavior.

Photo: Pexels
Supervise your pet’s outdoor activities to monitor their behavior.

When to Seek Veterinary Care

If your pet consumes part of the dead animal, monitoring for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy is crucial. As Urgent Vet reports, contacting your vet for advice is recommended, as they can assess the risk of diseases or parasites that your pet may have been exposed to. In some cases, pets might require treatment or tests to ensure they haven’t contracted any illnesses from their grim find.

While it’s natural for pets to exhibit predatory behavior, understanding the potential risks and taking preventative measures is essential for their safety and yours. By remaining calm, disposing of dead animals safely, and taking steps to prevent future occurrences, you can manage this instinctual behavior while keeping your household safe.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, spending time with his daughters, and coffee.
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