Just the word “rabies” tends to conjure up some frightening images in the mind’s eye. Rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transmitted from animals to humans. This is one reason it is so dangerous. It also has a very high fatality rate. Luckily, rabies has been all but eliminated in the United States and many other parts of the world thanks to modern vaccination and wild animal control measures. Still, you’ll want to take the proper precautions to make sure your pet stays safe. Here’s how: 

Supervise while outdoors.

The rabies virus is spread through the bites of infected animals. So, it’s important to keep a close eye on your pet outdoors in order to stop them from encountering any wild animals, like raccoons or opossums. Keep your pet on a leash when you go on walks, and don’t let them stray too far. If you live by a wooded area or anywhere that wild animals may pass through, don’t let your pet outside unsupervised. 

Spay and neuter.

Having your pet spayed or neutered will also prevent the risk of the rabies virus. That’s because spaying and neutering reduces your furry buddy’s urge to wander in order to find a mate. Not only will you avoid the hassle and heartache of a lost pet, you won’t have to worry about Fluffy or Fido coming into contact with a wild animal that could potentially be rabid. 

Vaccinate your pet.

Your four-legged friend’s core vaccination group should include the rabies vaccine. This is his or her main line of defense against the rabies virus. Puppies and kittens as young as three months old or so can get the rabies vaccine. They will probably need a few follow-up booster shots. Ask your vet for more information.  

Watch for signs of illness. 

Be aware of the symptoms of rabies. These include loss of appetite, lethargy light and touch sensitivity, fever, and uncharacteristic aggressive behavior. Seizures and paralysis can occur if the disease progresses. Contact your veterinary professional immediately if you see these signs. 

All things considered, the risk of rabies is very low for your pet. But make sure to take the right steps to keep it that way. Call your vet’s office for help!