How can you prevent rabies?
  • 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.
  • Teach your children to avoid wildlife, strays, and all other animals they do not know well.
  • 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, sticks, or other tools to avoid direct contact.
  • Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies and that their shots are up-to-date. By law, all dogs, cats, and ferrets 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. It is possible for vaccinated pets to get rabies. Pets allowed to roam freely are more likely to get rabies and possibly expose people and other pets in your home.
  • Fasten trash can lids tightly. Garbage attracts animals (like skunks, raccoons, and strays) looking for an easy meal.
  • 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.
  • Animal control officers, veterinarians, their assistants, and others who have a lot of contact with strays or wildlife should get routine rabies vaccinations to protect themselves before they are exposed to the virus.

Show All Answers

1. What is rabies?
2. How is rabies spread?
3. What kinds of animals spread rabies?
4. How common is animal rabies in Massachusetts?
5. How can you tell if an animal is rabid?
6. What should you do if you think you’ve been exposed to rabies?
7. What is the treatment for people exposed to rabies?
8. How can you prevent rabies?
9. Where can you get more information?