Yup, I truly did think that adding a doggy-door to access my back yard would be the best gift I could give to my little dog. Well, I do not think that way anymore. It turns out that our city-raised raccoon neighbours now know how to use these doors themselves.
Many a homeowner has come home only to discover a raccoon has entered their home and they’re not sure how it got in, and… more importantly, how to get it outside again. If this has happened to you, and you have a doggy-door, or even a cat flap installed in an outer door, than you now know the problem.
Raccoons have very dexterous front paws that allow them to open bins, doors, and even cupboards almost as easily as a human does. Cute? Not so much if this little invader enters and ruins your home, and I assure you a raccoon will make short work of any home if given half the chance. Raccoons have even been known to eat live, caged birds they gain access to so if you have a pet bird, this issue is even more important to know.
However, you can easily learn to live in harmony with raccoons (and other forms of wildlife for that matter) by remembering simple things like; NEVER feed your pets outdoors, keep garbage indoors until your collection day, and use compost containers that deter wildlife while allowing for ventilation.
TIP: I discovered that hanging my large green bin (for kitchen compost) on my fence by the handle so that it dangles, tilting in toward the fence at the bottom, works perfectly. Even opossums cannot get into it anymore.
Keeping your home in good repair is another simple method of discouraging raccoons and other critters from moving in. Squirrels, raccoons, and even starlings are notorious for moving in rather quickly to incomplete and neglected buildings.
To-date there are no known repellents for raccoons, so please understand; it is much easier to take the necessary steps in discouraging their even thinking of invading your property, than to fix the damages caused after they have been removed.
And, last but not least; if your pet has been bitten by a raccoon or any other wildlife, it may have been infected by rabies, so you should contact your vet immediately. Keeping your pets indoors overnight will reduce the likelihood of their ever coming into contact with a raccoon.