Dogs have a tendency to chase pretty much anything; small animals, birds, heck even large animals. Reggie chases lots of things. He prefers fur over feathers and I spend a lot of time trying to teach him what’s safe and what’s not. Conceptually, he doesn’t know the difference between a cat or a raccoon or a squirrel. He would just like to meet it and sniff it. Just like parents with their children, we need to protect our pets from animals like porcupines (they are not fluffy toys), coyotes (they are not friendly dogs), and raccoons (they are not funny striped cats).
I read an article about raccoons and dogs recently that I have to share because raccoons are so prevalent in most residential areas. Raccoons aren’t shy- we’ve all had experiences of some sort with them, getting into the trash cans, hiding in the yard, etc. They are sneaky little creatures and, unlike most animals, will attack even when unprovoked.
An article on Dogster, written by a veterinarian, details what a raccoon does to a dog when it attacks. A raccoon will first attempt to scratch a dog’s eyes out, and then roll the dog onto its back and attempt to eviscerate it. At first I thought, ok maybe with a little dog of equal size but not a Great Dane.
After looking into it, a raccoon can jump onto a dog’s face and scratch with its little sharp claws very, very fast. What will a dog do? Shake its head. If that doesn’t work, it will go into a play-bow kind of posture and try to paw off the raccoon. Score one for the raccoon, now the dog is on the ground and the raccoon can get at the abdomen. According to Dogster, their bites can often penetrate the chest wall or abdomen which can lead to collapsed lungs or septic peritonitis. While doing all this damage to the abdomen, the raccoon can lacerate the urethra which causes urine to pool underneath the skin and could cause a secondary kidney failure.
These are very serious injuries that can cause blindness, serious infection, coma, death, and the very serious rabies situation. Teach your dogs about different animals, and always check the yard for raccoons before you let them out!