• Wildlife and Pets

What you need to know

Over the forty years Wildlife Aid has been running, we have seen and dealt with some horrific injuries. A large majority of these are as a direct result of man’s impact on nature, with the UK being one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.

One of the most frequent reasons for wildlife admissions is, Pets!

The Facts

With more than half of UK households owning at least one pet in 2021/22, dogs and cats were the most common household pets in that year, with an estimated 13 million dogs and 12 million cats living in homes.

As of 2020, the United Kingdom was the second highest-ranking European country in terms of its dog population, preceded only by Germany. Both, dogs and cats can have a detrimental effect on the environment especially the countryside, if under little control.

Reportedly, Cats alone, are suspected of killing 160 to 270 million animals annually, with a quarter of them birds. For us, some of the issues arise due to cats 'toying' with wildlife, causing significant damage, but not killing the prey, and thus leaving them wounded and needing help from hospitals like ours.

Ways you can stop - Dogs

If you know your dog has a high prey drive, you can help wildlife by:

> Keeping dogs on short leads on nature reserves and the wider countryside 

> Calling your dog back if you notice wildlife around

> Cleaning up after animals and disposing of dog waste in bins or at home 

> Avoiding use of nature reserves when walking large groups of dogs  

> Using training to distract and re-direct your dogs prey drive

Ways you can stop - Cats

You can stop your cat from hunting by:

> Keeping them indoors at night

> Placing a quick-release collar with a bell on your cat can provide warning to unsuspecting wildlife

> Using an ultrasonic device attached to a cat’s collar can warn potential prey of its approach

> Allowing your cat to ‘hunt’ prey-like toys can reduce its motivation to kill

> Feeding your cat a nutritious and balanced diet can reduce their urge to hunt for 'food'

> Depending on your cat's personality, you could train it to walk outside on a harness and leash

> Consider a catio, allowing them controlled access to outside