There’s a rather curious pet holiday coming up. January 21st is Squirrel Appreciation Day. Public opinion on squirrels is pretty split. Some people think they are fluffy and adorable, and enjoy watching. Others see them as rodents in nice outfits. Pets certainly appreciate them, though. As far as Fido and Fluffy are concerned, they’re all fair game! Here, a Westminster, MD vet discusses—you guessed it—squirrels.
You’ve probably noticed that our canine companions are pretty much hardwired to want to chase squirrels. Those instincts are left over from Fido’s ancestors, who often thought of squirrels as, well, dinner. If your pooch tries to lunge or haul you, take time to work with him. That’s not only bad petiquette, it can also be dangerous. (Note: January also just happens to be National Train Your Dog Month.)
One thing we can all appreciate about squirrels is the fact that they are so comical to watch. Try getting a horsehead squirrel feeder, or setting a picnic bench out for your resident squirrels. You’re bound to get a few good laughs out of the deal!
Do you have children? Squirrel Appreciation Day can be a great chance to talk to kids about the importance of treating all animals—both wild and domestic—with kindness and empathy. Squirrels can also be a good example of how our natural environment works as an ecosystem. Like every other animal, they serve specific roles in nature.
If you do need to remove some squirrels from your farm, be sure to use only humane, non-toxic options. Never use rat or rodent poison. These products unfortunately have resulted in the deaths of many wild birds, such as hawks and owls, who eat the poisoned critters and get very sick themselves. If you have a cat, we also recommend keeping Fluffy indoors. Both your pet and your squirrels will be safer!
Squirrels usually give birth in late spring or early summer. You may come across a baby squirrel on the ground. Generally, the best bet is to leave it alone, as the mother will often return. If it appears hurt, and/or if the mother does not return, contact a local wildlife agency for advice on what to do next.
As your Westminster, MD animal clinic, we’re dedicated to offering great care. Please feel free to contact us today!