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Coyotes and Small Dogs
4 Tips to Keep Them from Meeting!

hh color photograph of a coyote

Last weekend, we were enjoying a barbecue at a friend's house in suburban Houston. Imagine our surprise when a coyote sauntered across the front yard in our full view. He gave us the 'are you looking at me' stare and then wandered off toward a nearby wooded lot.

If you think coyotes are something only ranchers and wilderness hikers have to worry about, search Google and you'll find recent news reports about dogs attacked in Tennessee, Indiana, California (all the time), Illinois, Colorado and Minnesota.

Like it or not, small dogs can be seen as tasty dinner treats for a coyote.

Here are 4 tips to help you keep your small dog safe from coyotes

1. Don't leave your dog outside unsupervised

Don't turn your dog loose to go potty. Small dogs need to be supervised with a responsible person close by to help them if they run into trouble.

Maybe you won't encounter a coyote in downtown Boston, but you could meet a rabid raccoon, hawk or owl - all of which have been documented attacking small dogs.

Don't assume a fence is enough protection. It needs to be at least six feet high without chain links that offer a coyote an easy way to climb over. Coyotes have been known to scale a five-foot fence with a small dog in their mouth.

For the best protection if you want to leave a dog outside alone, have a Coyote Roller installed on top of the fence. This prevents a coyote (or other predator) from getting a grip so they slide off instead of over.

Coyotes can attack at any time but dawn and dusk are the most dangerous times.

2. Don't make your lawn and yard a desirable place

Don't inadvertently create a den for them by leaving branches, brushes and overgrown trees in an accessible area.

Don't leave food or treats outside overnight and pick up fruit that drops from your trees. Promptly pick up your dog's poop. Anything that smells will attack a predator.

Bird feeders can be an attraction, not just for coyotes but also for rabbits, squirrels, mice and gophers.

If you live near open spaces or wilderness, it's also a good idea to have motion-detector lights along the perimeter of your yard, since most wild animals (including burglars) tend to avoid bright lights.

Don't leave trash outside overnight especially if it's sitting on a curb with easy street access.

3. Don't encourage coyotes (or other wild animals)

Don't feed them. For human, pet and wild animal safety, it's best if coyotes and other wild animals fear people.

Don't assume having your dog on a leash is enough. There are documented cases
of coyotes grabbing dogs right in front of their horrified owner. That's also a reason not to use long retractable leashes. Your dog could be in fatal danger before you could reach him.

If you're out walking and see a coyote, pick up your dog.

Never let your dog try to play with or otherwise interact with a coyote
(or other wild animal). It won't turn out well for your dog.

4. Don't run away if a coyote approaches you

I know that sounds wrong, but the worst thing you can do is turn your back and run. The coyote is likely to give chase, and he's going to be faster than you are.

If a coyote approaches you, yell at him to Go Away, throw rocks or other objects at him and be as big and loud as you can. Coyotes usually fear humans and larger animals. You want to reinforce that.

If he isn't leaving the area, then slowly back away while keeping him in your sight.

These tips were provided by the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

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