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What Should You Do If a Coyote Attacks Your Dog

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Living in the country, coyotes are a fact of life for us–and I worry about coyote attacks. We hear coyotes in the evenings and at night (and any time they hear a siren). We see evidence of them on every dog walk.

But we do our best to make sure our dogs have no close interaction with the coyotes. We walk our dogs on leash and have had a few encounters with coyotes on our walks–but with the dogs right at my side, I didn’t worry about their safety as I would have if they’d been off leash.

I carry pepper spray and citronella spray in my dog walking bag.

And we work to keep our yard unattractive to coyotes, with no food, trash or dog waste to lure them inside.

But what if, even after our best efforts, one of our dogs got in a scuffle with a coyote?

Today we have a guest post from the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences with advice on what to do if your dog gets bitten by a coyote–and how you can take steps to prevent coyotes and other wildlife from interacting with your dog.

Protect Your Pets From Coyotes And Other Wild Animals

Although most wild animals mind their business and don’t bother humans, some wild animals, such as coyotes, can wander into human environments and cause harm to pets.

“It’s pretty amazing how much damage coyotes can do to pets, especially when you consider that coyotes are roughly the size of a domestic dog,” said Christine Rutter, a clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.  “Coyotes are very effective predators. Pets that come to our emergency room after a coyote attack often have severe injuries.”

What to do if your dog is attacked by a coyote

Because coyote bites have the potential to cause severe body and organ damage, Rutter recommends that every pet that is attacked by a coyote, bobcat, or an unknown animal be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Owners should not attempt to address wounds at home.

A bite from a wild animal also poses another threat—the spread of potential diseases, such as rabies.

“We don’t often think of the coyote as a major vector of rabies, but it is possible,” Rutter said. “However, the most common carriers for rabies are raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats.

“Thankfully, most pets have had a recent rabies vaccination, which will protect them from this virus,” she said. “However, saliva in the pet’s wounds can expose people who are not commonly vaccinated for rabies to the virus. I always recommend that owners wear gloves when handling pets that have been attacked by a wild or potentially unvaccinated animal.

Steps to protect your dog from coyote attacks

While humans might not be able to control the behavior of wild animals, pet owners can take steps toward protecting pets from potential attacks.

“Coyotes and other wild animals thrive in urban and suburban environments due to the availability of food and shelter provided by people,” Rutter explained. “It seems that the only thing we can really do is to limit access to these resources. I recommend that people secure food sources, including trash, compost, outdoor pet food, and wildlife feeders. I would also be sure that outbuildings are secure and don’t make comfortable homes for wildlife.”

Since many wild animals, including coyotes, are most active from dusk till dawn, keeping pets safe during this time is crucial.

Keeping pets indoors during this time seems the most obvious choice, but it’s not realistic in some situations,” Rutter said. “I recommend that pets be limited to a fenced area or leash walked.

“I would also have a good outdoor light, visually check the yard, and make a bit of noise before pets are allowed outside.

“Especially at night, it’s important to supervise your pets when they are outside. Pets of any size can find trouble, but pets under 50 pounds are especially vulnerable.”

If your pet primarily resides outdoors, a completely enclosed kennel with a roof may also be an effective way to keep unwanted visitors out.

“Ventilation holes in the kennel should be small enough to keep out any animal larger than a rat, and the kennel should be large enough that the confined animal should be able to at least stand up, turn around, and escape any water accumulation on the floor,” Rutter said.

Webcams and security systems can also help you monitor your yard at both day and night.

We can’t predict the behavior of wild critters, but we can take steps to lessen the chance that our pet comes in contact with a dangerous animal.

coyote attack dog

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Khristi Ford

Sunday 20th of September 2020

Greetings, Iv Rd learned slot from reading your post my 5 year old miniature yorkie poodle mix was snatched by a coyote j was speechless and helpless at the same time it happened so fast . I was terrified this incident happened September 1,2020 my heart was racing I know it skipped a beat my bs y was taken off and this coyote came like a thief in n the night about 6ish in the morning. I’m still shaken and sadden by this ordeal. We still have our other baby Dillion he took off at the sound of distress when he heard Bella but he misses her dearly they were born together siblings. He has been terrible without Bella. Thanks for the watch warning f dad if she if only I knew then what I know now. That’s my storyline.....

mary jeffries

Thursday 4th of November 2021

@Khristi Ford, I was stalked last night in San Clemente while crossing a street at night. My 12 pound poodle on the leash. I just happened to look over my shoulder and there he was not one dog length away! It took me a second to actually realize what I was seeing then I yelled eek eek at it and it sort of turned away, but not really. It poised me off in the street I yelled eek eek again and was able to pick up my dog who was struggling to get free from his collar. ( is that stupid or what). I had to yell two more times to get the coyote up to the sidewalk, as I walked to my car. As I jumped in, I looked around the car to see if it followed me in ! So scary! That coyote was so sneaky and deliberate and entitled! My granddaughters little chihuahua was attacked by a coyote puppy who luckily could not jump the fence carrying him. His eye got smashed out due to skull injuries, and although it looks ok he is blind in that eye and multiple other wounds. He’s a little survivor, it’s Been two weeks Of course we are very very worried about his safety from now on, and my great granddaughter who is 19 months! We’re living in the wild now. Good luck to us all! Mary

Shirley

Sunday 13th of December 2020

I also lost my best friend to a coyote 12/9/2020. My boy fought back courageously but he had serious damage to his neck. I feel that I am at fault because I wasn't aware of how sneaky coyotes can be and if this comment can save even 1 family pet...here you go. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DOG OUT if there is even a small possibility that there are coyotes anywhere in the area. They will stalk, hide and attack when you least expect, even in the daylight.

Barb niko

Saturday 20th of June 2020

My dog was attacked at night in our backyard. Hind legs bit and paralyzed. She was 21 yrs old. Watch your pets. This coyote hopped a 6 foot wall

TAMMY MICHAEL

Tuesday 29th of October 2019

THIS CONSTANTLY WORRIES AND SCARES ME. I HAVE 2 DOGGIES, MAGGIE AND GEMMA BOTH 3 YRS OLD. WE LIVE 1 HOUR NORTH OF N.Y. CITY IN A BEAUTIFUL PLACE CALLED "CONTINENTAL VILLAGE " ALL PRIVATE HOMES, NOT GATED. FOR THE LAST 5 YRS COYOTES HAVE BEEN A PROBLEM HERE.

RECENTLY, NEIGHBOR'S CATS HAVE BEEN MISSING. AND SOME PEOPLE LIVING HERE HAVE ACTUALLY HEARD COYOTES ATTACK AN ANIMAL AND KILL IT. I WORRY FOR MY OWN DOGS SAFETY AS MY WHOLE YARD IS FENCED IN, INCLUDING MY HILL IN THE BACKYARD. BUT I GO OUT WITH MY BABIES AT 7 AM EVERY MORNING TO DO THIER BUSINESS AND TO PLAY FOR AN HOUR.

WE SOMETIMES HEAR COYOTE IN THE NEAR DISTANCE. I REALLY HOPE I NEVER SEE ONE IN MY YARD OR NEAR MY DOGS, I WOULD DO ANYTHING TO PROTECT THEM.....

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