Friday, July 12, 2013

Bonding Through Dog Safety

by Carrie Boyko, CEB

 photo GatorToys2013_zpsfe657905.jpg
Copyright AllThingsDogBlog.com
These Gators are Safe, Tanner
My dogs don't know that I'm keeping them safe when I take certain measures that may not be to their liking. What they do know is that my attitude and approach shows them I care. During the warm months of the year, Tanner is banished from lakefront activities. He's not thrilled about that but it's necessary. Gators...

Yup! They're seeking mates, breeding and nesting between May and early September. That means only one thing to dogs who splash in Florida waterways--trouble! Even retention ponds on our golf courses are hazards, often housing singular, male gators who tend to be loners.
courtesy WTSP.com
Gators Will Seek Water of Just About Any Type

From dusk to dawn gators are most active, but daylight often finds them basking in areas where aqua plants and grasses provide cover. Some are bold enough to come up on lakefront docks to sun themselves, and even seek out other places to cool off, like the pool-crasher in this photo from WTSP.com, a Tampa news channel. I'd like to see Tanner's reaction to this guy on our pool deck. NOT!
And worse yet, imagine this record catch if he were still kicking:
courtesy WTSP.com
How Long?

While searching for statistics, I learned that about 20 dogs are killed each year in Florida by gators. After living here nearly my entire life, I'd concur with that based on news reports and my memory. Oddly the source of this tidbit was a British news site

The death of a Dalmatian in Jacksonville underscores the value of following park rules regarding leashing your dog. This 80-pound, off-leash dog was drinking from the lake in a park when he was attacked and killed by a 10 foot gator. While that's a large gator, the dog was no lightweight. Take care to restrain your dog in advance. You won't be able to stop him if he sees a gator, or is attacked by one.

If you read the last line of the Jacksonville report, you'll understand one of the most important points I can stress. Gators migrate from waterway to waterway, seeking food and mates. They are predatory in nature and are known to lie beneath the surface in shallow water, waiting for wildlife, dogs or humans to approach close enough to be ambushed. You'll likely be safe if you avoid waterfront dog walks from late afternoon through mid-morning.

Gators live in waterways throughout the South East United States. Knowing the dangers is part and parcel to being safe. Your dog will know you have good reason if you take him on a lakefront walk and stay well away from the shore with his leash in place. Keep in mind that gators can travel very fast on land; do not approach a sunbathing gator  thinking it will be slow-moving; you'll regret it.

One final tip: Gators over 6 feet in length are considered to be of significant danger,
both to humans and dogs. Call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission if you spot one in Florida, or if you have a nuisance gator in your area: 1-866-FWC-GATOR. When living or traveling in other states, search online for local government wildlife organizations if you come upon a large or aggressive gator. It may be your dog or your kid you'll save.

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13 comments:



Jeanne Pursell said...

Gators. One of the few things I am afraid of when in Florida!! Thank you for this very informative post!! xo Jeanne, Chloe and LadyBug



Schooner and Skipper said...

I am so glad we don't have gators in Lake Michigan. We need to make sure our dogs are not drink the lake water. A couple of years ago 2 dogs died from drinking the water in the area where we have our boat docked which is call Trail Creek and the water is YUCKY!! This year the lake has a lot of under tows warning!



Dawn said...

I can't imagine! The worst we have to watch out for here in Kansas are venomous snakes, although I haven't seen any since I lived in Texas.



Serena said...

That gator by the pool sends shivers down my spine. I don't think I'd cope if a gator took my little Sassy.So glad you shared this info because a lot of people take their dogs to other states when traveling without knowing the risks.



cstironkat said...

They not only live in Florida but range as far west as Texas and as far north as North Carolina. Florida has a healthy and growing population of alligators, which occupy nearly every body of fresh water in the state. A distance of 25 feet or more from the water is not a bad idea. Keeping clear of the water’s edge means keeping your pet safe.



garthriley said...

Thank you for this helpful post. Gators are a concern for us when we visit Florida, so we generally stay away from lakes & canals & basically any fresh water.

Garth



JoAnn Stancer said...

As much as I love gators you do need to keep your pets and yourself safe from them. Great post!



Linda Meyers-Gabbard said...

I live in southeast Ohio. We do not have gators we have coyotes. Where We live in the country there are woods behind out house and wood across the road. The coyotes have dens in both places. Like gators the coyotes are active from dusk til dawn (great title for a movie) hunting, howling, and so on and are not afraid to do their business in your yard where your dogs do.

We do not let the dogs out alone during those hour. We go with them. During certain times we do take a shotgun with us. There have been livestock and pets killed by the coyotes.

My tip: go with your pets and keep your eyes peeled






evie said...

i dont live in fl, have enough problems w/ the foxes, coyotes, deer, snakes, mountain lions (one was in the area last yr), and bears (one was in the next town)....my dog breeder lives in fl, right on the waterways....it scares me to death....never let your dogs go out alone, keep a lighted leash and collar on them, take a flashlight if going out at night. do not leave any food out, trash, etc. anything that resembles food...



Schooner and Skipper said...

Never ever trust a gator!



evie said...

stay away from the water sounds...put up a fence, sturdy fence to keep the gators out and dogs in...



PepperPom said...

Always look the window before letting your dog out in your yard. If you see a gator in your yard, keep your dog inside and call animal control. Nuisance gators over 3 ft in length will often return after relocation.



evie said...

see if there is any smell (as w/ deer) that would keep them away from your property. deer dislike coyote urine

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