Rabies: how can rabies be prevented?
  • Avoid wild animals, especially bats, skunks, foxes, and raccoons. Do not feed or pet strays. Avoid any animal -wild, farm, or pet - that you do not know. Report any animal that behaves oddly to your local animal control official.
  • Make sure that your pets are inoculated against rabies and that their shots are up to date. By law, all dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies. 
  • Feed pets indoors and keep them indoors at night. If they are outside during the day, keep them on a leash or fenced-in so they cannot wander. Even vaccinated pets can get rabies. Pets allowed to roam freely are more likely to get rabies and bring it into your home.
  • Fasten trash can lids tightly. Garbage attracts animals (like skunks, raccoons, and strays) looking for an easy meal.
  • Teach your children to avoid wildlife, strays and all other animals they don't know well. Do not let your children roam freely in areas where wild animals live.
  • It is against state law to keep wild animals such as skunks, or raccoons as pets. There are no rabies vaccines for most wild species.
  • Cap your chimney with screens and block openings in attics, cellars, and porches to keep wild animals like bats and raccoons out of your home.
  • If you have bats in your house, talk to a professional about bat-proofing your home.
  • Do not handle dead, sick, or injured wild animals yourself call the police or animal control officer. If you must handle the animal, use heavy gloves, a shovel, sticks, or other tools to avoid direct contact.
  • Animal Control Officers, veterinarians and their assistants, and others who have a lot of contact with strays or wildlife should think about getting routine rabies vaccinations to protect themselves before they are exposed to the virus.

Show All Answers

1. What is rabies?
2. How common is animal rabies in Massachusetts?
3. How is rabies spread?
4. What animals spread rabies?
5. How can I tell if an animal is rabid?
6. Rabies: how can rabies be prevented?
7. Where can I get more information on rabies?