How to Protect your Pets from Coyotes

Coyote 3

How to Protect your Pets from Coyotes

 I’m sure many residents have heard the unsettling sounds of coyotes the last few nights.  I know I have and that sound terrifies me as I know danger is lurking for someone’s lost cat or dog, or one simply left in the backyard because the owners think their pet is safe if they have a fence or a block wall around their property.

I came across this article published by Top Dog on February 15, 2012, that I wanted to share with all of you on how to protect your pets from coyotes.  This was written in collaboration with the U.S Department of Agriculture, Fish & Game, and other agencies…

As we develop on the land that they on land they once occupied, coyotes are getting more and more widespread. We now are dealing with several in our neighborhood.  It is so alarming to see neighborhood pets being threatened and to feel apprehension when you walk your dogs.  There are several things that you need to know to keep you and your pet safe from coyotes.

Don’t think that your pet is safe just because you have a fence around your yard.  Even an eight foot wall is not a detriment.  Coyotes have been known to jump fences.  Don’t think your dog is safe just because you are with them while walking through your neighborhood.   Many dogs have been attacked while walking with their owner, especially if the owner is using a retractable leash, since these leashes often extend past the safe six feet distance and make it hard to get your dog in close—and fast.

Coyotes are amazingly cunning and clever.  In one example, a homeowner returned after a vacation to find their dog was missing from their yard.  They had a video camera in the yard so they watched the video for clues. They saw that a coyote had been coming in their yard every night and playing with their dog. The dog would play with the coyote and then gallop back into the house.  On the fourth night, the coyote tricked the dog into going a bit farther and then snatched him.

Coyotes are opportunistic—reduce the opportunities:

Keep your cat inside.  Coyotes prey on cats and catch them too often. We have several heartbreaking stories in our neighborhood.

If you have a dog, walk with them close to your side.  Do not leave them alone in a fenced yard; keep them on a leash at night when you go outside.  Keep dogs on a leash in front of you at all times.  Coyotes have snatched pets off of a leashes following behind.

Don’t use a retractable leash!  Your dog can get too far away from you with a retractable leash.  We’ve heard many stories of coyotes snatching a dog that strayed too far from its owner.

Walk in a pack with other people and other dogs, the larger your pack, the less vulnerable you appear to be to an opportunistic coyote. Walk at dusk and dawn with lighted collars and leashes.

Do not leave food outside.  Keep all pet food and water bowls indoors.  Remove fallen fruit from the ground.  Take your garbage cans out in the morning of garbage day.  Do not leave them outside.  Garbage cans should be shut tightly to prevent coyotes that have a keen sense of smell.

Shrubbery:  Coyotes will lay in wait for your pets.  Make sure to trim ground-level shrubbery to avoid hiding places

Bird Feeders:  Do not have bird feeders on your property.  Bird food will attract rats which will attract coyotes to your home

Seal-up any openings under porches, decks and sheds with welded wire that are buried at least 18 inches below ground

Carry a device that makes noise.  Many people carry a bull horn or a coke can filled with pennies that they shake to make noise.  The pet-corrector emits a loud spray that simulates a snake’s hissing, a known predator.

Carry citronella spray.  Keep it armed in ready position. We recommend this over pepper spray on the chance that it hits you or your pet.

Coyote approaches you?  NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TURN YOUR BACK AND RUN!  BECOME BIG!  Wave your arms, scream, throw rocks!  By running,  you are seen as prey by the coyote. Carry a walking stick or keep detterent spray handy or noise maker.  Plan outside activities during the day light hours when coyotes are less active.  Avoid potential coyote den sights.

 Preventative measures from coyotes

  1.  Human scent such as cologne or perfume should be applied especially in your backyard.  Be sure to reapply after any rain
  2. Ammonia-soaked rags or apply to an area with a squirt bottle.  Must be re-applied after rain.  Other odor deterrents such as cayenne pepper or vinegar in water guns or balloons, etc., are also useful.
  3. Install motion detector lights around all areas of your property.

It takes a neighborhood to ward off predators. If you’re doing everything right, but your neighbor is doing everything wrong, you’re going to have conflicts with wildlife.  It’s always a good idea to educate newcomers to an area, as they might not fully understand the threat.