Arizona’s diverse landscape, from lush valleys to scorching deserts, provides endless fun for humans and pets alike. But alongside the beauty lies a unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to keeping pets contained. As a pet sitter in the Valley of the Sun, I’ve witnessed firsthand the importance of keeping pets safe in Arizona, not just for their well-being, but for the protection of the desert’s delicate ecosystem.

Uncontained pets can disrupt nesting birds, chase endangered species, and even spread diseases to wild animals. Responsible pet ownership means keeping them contained and protecting the fragile environment they share with wildlife.

I also see the consequences of unsupervised pets firsthand when we are working with animal rescues. Lost animals, injuries from encounters, and even heartbreak from tragic accidents. It’s crucial to understand Arizona’s unique environment and take steps to protect both your pet and our beautiful state.

Keep Cats Indoors

Desert dangers lurk around every corner, from toxic plants to dangerous wildlife and heat-related issues.  Arizona wildlife is necessarily cunning and opportunistic, often targeting smaller animals left unsupervised or allowed to roam.

Think beyond the adorable bunnies hopping across your yard. Coyotes, rattlesnakes, javelinas, and even mountain lions pose serious threats to free-roaming pets. City life is tough for any animal, but especially for cats.

Protecting from Above

Don’t underestimate the dangers from above. Great horned owls and even hawks have been known to snatch smaller pets. Secure enclosures with mesh roofs offer an extra layer of protection against these aerial predators.

Containment isn’t just about physical dangers. It also protects your pet from getting lost, ingesting harmful toxins, or encountering aggressive stray animals. Let’s not downplay the most dangerous predator – the human kind.

Proper fencing offers peace of mind for pet owners and their pet sitters!

Fencing Matters!

Knowing your furry friend is safe and sound, even when you’re not around, is invaluable.

Even a well-fenced yard is not enough protection for a small pet. Block walls are often used as “super highways” for most of Arizona’s wildlife. Chain link fencing is easily scaled by a wide variety of animals, including skunks. If you don’t have snake fencing installed, the chances are good you or your pet will run across one sooner or later. These are some tips we like to suggest to clients:

  • Block Walls: Have a kennel or fully contained area to leave your pet if you’re away. Be sure they have plenty of shade and water.
  • Chain Link Fencing: Install coyote rollers to protect pets from exterior entry, and keep cats from leaving.
  • Snake Fencing: Install snake fencing if you share a yard with rattlesnakes. Have someone qualified to install, like Rattlesnake Solutions.
  • Wood Fencing: This is another great opportunity for coyote rollers. Learn how to install them here.

The Doggie Door Dilemma

Doggie doors offer animal lovers a great deal of convenience, but in Arizona, they require extra caution. Consider installing an enclosed kennel accessible through the doggie door. This provides a safe outdoor space while shielding your pet from overhead threats and pesky critters.

Remember, if you have a large dog that needs indoor/outdoor access, you should install a Smart doggy door that operates on your pet’s microchip or collar ID tag. If your medium or large sized dog can get in, so can a variety of wildlife. This includes rattlesnakes, coyotes and more.

A doggie door opening into a secure, enclosed kennel provides peace of mind, keeping your pet safe from terrestrial predators while enjoying outdoor access. These are simple to construct and can be built anywhere.

Responsible pet containment gives me peace of mind knowing my furry clients are safe while they are in my care. It also allows me to focus on their specific needs, like playtime and exercise, without worrying about unexpected escapes (or unwanted intruders).

Why Containment Matters

For Your Pet

  • Prevents injury or death from predators: A secure environment ensures your pet enjoys the outdoors safely.
  • Minimizes exposure to harmful plants and toxins: Arizona’s flora is full of surprises, some potentially fatal to curious pups.
  • Reduces risk of contracting diseases: Stray animals often carry parasites and illnesses that can spread to your pet.

For the Ecosystem

  • Protects native wildlife: Uncontained pets can disrupt delicate food chains and habitats, impacting native species.
  • Reduces the spread of invasive species: Unintentionally introduced species can wreak havoc on local ecosystems.


  • Secure all doors, gates, and kennels properly.
  • Microchip and license your pet for easier identification if they do escape.
  • Fenced yards with locked gates are a must. For added safety, consider a secure kennel accessible through a doggie door.
  • Even in secure yards, supervise your pet during outdoor playtime. This allows you to intervene if any potential threats arise.
  • Be a responsible pet owner and advocate for your furry friend’s safety and the well-being of Arizona’s wildlife.

By keeping your pet contained, you’re not just protecting them, you’re contributing to a healthy ecosystem and ensuring a happy life for your furry companion in the heart of Arizona’s wild beauty. Let’s all do our part to keep our pets safe and our wild neighbors thriving.

keeping pets safe in arizona