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postheadericon For a dog or a small child, living in a cabin can be a huge treat, with lots of places to explore and play in

For a dog or a small child, living in a cabin can be a huge treat, with lots of places to explore and play in. However, it’s best to keep an eye out to make sure that they are safe when enjoying their time outdoors and in.

When you first buy or rent a cabin, or are coming for a visit to your vacation residence, do a walkthrough to make sure that there are no unwanted animals or insects currently residing in the home. Black widow and brown recluse spiders make their home in the North Georgia mountains and tend to like dark, undisturbed areas. Check corners, untouched items, etc for signs of these spiders. Shake out bedding, clothing, and towels if they have been left lying for a while.

Another walkthrough outside is necessary to make sure that there are no poisonous plants or animals residing in the immediate area. Poison ivy can make a vacation wretched for a child or pet that stumbles into it. Some ornamental plants that thrive in many Georgia homes and gardens can pose a threat, such as Lily-of-the-valley and oleander, as well as common plants like buttercups and bracken ferns. Teach your child not to eat anything found in the woods unless given permission and keep your pets on a leash until you’ve checked out the immediate area.

Georgia is home to 6 varieties of poisonous snake: the Copperhead, Cottonmouth, Coral, Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Timber Rattlesnake and the Pigmy Rattlesnake. Children and pets are much more susceptible to the poison of these snakes than adults and special measures might have to be taken to discourage snakes from viewing your home as their home. Most of the time, snakes won’t bother people and pets if they are not bothered, but children and pets tend to be curious and heedless of danger.

Most wild animals don’t pose a threat to your pets and children. However, there is always the chance that your child or pet might surprise a wild animal. Bears are common in the north Georgia mountains and can be aggressive if surprised or if they are searching for food. Teach your child not to approach or feed any wild animal, no matter how cute or non-threatening looking. Teach them what to do if they encounter a bear. Tell them not to stick their hands in dark places without making sure that there’s nothing in there that might take offense to their intrusion.

Pets should be kept under control when allowed outside; if they are not absolutely reliable about sticking around and coming when called, it’s best to keep them on a leash. A pet can harass wildlife and pick up parasites and diseases by running in the woods, eating tainted meat or fighting with a wild animal infected with a virus. Rabies is still alive and well in the southern U.S.; make sure your pet is up-to-date on its vaccinations. Also, the stories about dogs leading bears back to their owners are not all legend. Keep your pet under control.

Wildlife and plants are not the only things that can be dangerous for your children and pets in northern Georgia. The wilderness holds many natural dangers, such as cliffs, rivers, inhospitable climates and, of course, the lack of directional signs. Your children should be taught how to avoid getting lost and, if they do become lost, what to do. Proper attire is also imperative to dealing effectively to sudden weather changes. A light rain shell doesn’t add much weight to a pack and can mean the difference between soaked and relatively dry.

A wholesome respect for the power of natural features will also not go amiss. Rivers can be deceptively fast and deep, as well as having hidden undertows and currents. Cliffs and ravines can be tricky to traverse safely. With these, as with just about every aspect of the north Georgia wilderness, common sense and education go a long way to keeping your children safe.

Pets, as always, should be controlled and prevented from dashing headlong into an unknown stretch of water or down a new path. Even a strong swimmer can be overcome by an unexpected current or slip on a crumbling path. Obedience training is a must for dogs taken into wilderness areas, even if they are never let off the leash.

Prevention is the key to having a fun time at the family cabin. Teaching children how to respect the environment and what is in it will keep them safe. Training and controlling pets will keep them safe as well, so that you can focus on the many natural beauties surrounding you at your north Georgia cabin.

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