A question we often get from homeowners is: Can I use my beloved canine as a natural pest control solution? Many people assume that dogs, being bigger and more or less aggressive might act as a natural pest repellent, which would save them some trouble. This may be true, but if you have a pest problem, it is always best to hire a pro for help.
Why would dogs act as a natural pest repellent?
Well, you’d think pests would tend to keep away from dogs since the dog is more or less likely to give chase and then endanger them. Dogs also have a much keener sense of smell and hearing, which allows them to detect the presence of a pest long before we learn of it ourselves. So technically, they will know there’s something off even if you don’t. But does that mean they’ll protect the home?
The answer here is a bit more complicated.
First of all, it depends on what type of pest we’re talking about exactly. For example, squirrels are known to keep away from properties that have dogs, since the dog (as we well know) will give chase and practically make the critter’s life a nightmare. But squirrels can still be a nuisance even with the presence of your dog. For more information visit howtokeepsquirrelsaway.com.
Not all pests are as easily scared as squirrels. Skunks, for example, will not be impressed by a dog, and while they will try to avoid it, their smell acts as an ultimate weapon, so it’s far more likely that your dog will avoid the skunk and not the other way around.
Then, of course, there are the pests that your pet will chase, putting itself in danger. Raccoons, for example, are known to carry a lot of bacteria in their fearsome claws and they will not shy away from scratching and biting your beloved pet, should they get into a fight. This, of course, poses the threat of rabies, as well as a variety of diseases, and potentially even death.
Dogs have also been known to chase after snakes, which as you can probably guess, is not such a hot idea. Snakes are not keen on biting, usually, as that leaves them without defense (aka venom) for days as their stock replenishes. So most snakes only bite when they feel they’ve got no other choice, but if your dog is persistent about catching them, have no doubt, they will bite. Bites both from venomous and non-venomous snakes can be potentially life-threatening to your canine.
So all in all, while it might seem like a good idea at first, you don’t want your pet to give chase to wildlife in your yard, as this can endanger both the pet and yourself. Instead, what you’ll want to do is look for a dog that is a natural at dealing with other animals peacefully.
Some dogs are known to keep Canada geese and other birds away and have some level of success in deterring other pests from approaching. Animals like a German Shepherd, for example, can be trained to herd some types of unwanted pests off of your property safely and efficiently.
Bottom line: Will dogs protect the home from pests?
While some dogs are effective in keeping pests away, it usually depends on the size and aggression levels of the canine in question. For example, pests such as raccoons, opossums, and the like want to avoid a property where they hear the bark of a big, angry dog. While they may fight back, they know they will lose, and so prefer to keep out of the dog’s way. But this only goes for big, fierce dogs. Most lapdogs won’t instill fear in pests, and might actually be threatened by the presence of wildlife.
Honestly, you should take all the necessary precautions (e.g. keeping a clean, tidy yard and home) to prevent pests from approaching. Prevention is the best protection. And if you are dealing with some pest problems on your property, it would be a much better idea to either research DIY pest control options or even call a local wildlife removal company to rid your property of pests. Don’t just assume that because you have a dog (or cat, for that matter), your property is safe from local pests, because that might well put both your life and the life of your pet in considerable danger.