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Guide to Protecting Pets From Coyotes

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No matter where you live, you’ve likely had to learn how to protect your pets from coyotes and other predators. Whether its porcupine, coyotes, bobcats or bears, we live in a world with a rapidly increasing human population. This means more houses, which results in us continually infringing on wildlife’s resources.

The question we get most frequently is how to deal with wild animals that threaten our dogs and cats, so we’re doing an entire section on how to live with wildlife.

We are very strong believers in maintaining a symbiotic relationship with nature, so it’s important to us that we raise awareness on the issue.

Here’s how you can keep your pets safe from coyotes…

Protecting Pets from Coyotes

In order to keep your pets safe from coyotes, you must first understand coyotes. This sums up the situation pretty well:

Coyotes are opportunists. They prefer to scavenge for food and are not picky about what they eat. They rarely attack prey larger than themselves and they will not take too much of a risk or waste too much energy on a meal. 

Coyotes (and other wildlife) prefer “easy prey.” Like it or not, your small dog or freedom-loving cat is a no-effort dinner for coyotes.

This is not true in all cases, as some coyotes are becoming increasingly adept at surviving in the city. But the general rule is that they prefer easy prey and anything you do to make prey more difficult to hunt will help increase the odds of your pet’s survival.

Never Run Away from Coyotes

If you run across a coyote on a walk, do not run away. Prey runs away. Fellow predators hold their ground. But don’t try to pet a coyote, either. These animals are incredibly intelligent and have even been seen “luring’ animals from humans.

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Hazing

Simple deterrents, such as noise, water or air deterrents, will generally keep them at bay. If they are very hungry or thirsty, deterrents may not do the trick. This is when Hazing comes in.

Hazing is the act of making life uncomfortable for the coyote when he comes to visit. There are many things you try for hazing:

  • Yell loudly and make noise (whistles, bells, etc.) If a coyote has been hazed before, you may need to try another technique.
  • Walk towards the coyote in an aggressive manner. If the coyote still doesn’t move or begins to act aggressively towards you, back away slowly and contact authorities.
  • Use repellents: Water hoses, pepper spray, loud hiss noises (Pet Corrector is ideal)

In order for hazing to be effective, the coyote has to know the threat is from a human (don’t hide in your car while throwing things at the coyote).

  • Hazing is most effective when it comes from multiple people on multiple occasions through a variety of techniques.
  • Be consistent with hazing.
  • Encourage neighbors to be consistent with hazing.

Here are some easy tips to make your home less attractive to coyotes:

Change Your Environment

  • Check your Fencing: The most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to ensure your fencing is secure. Read this article about Fencing Solutions to Keep Dogs Contained.
  • Build a secured outdoor enclosure: There are many easy ways to create an outdoor enclosure and your pet door should only open onto a fully enclosed area such as a dog kennel or fenced area. Be sure to keep this area completely covered – a coyote can easily clear an 8′ kennel. Learn more about Creating the Ultimate Cat Enclosure.
  • Keep water sources behind fencing. This includes birdbaths, pet dishes, ponds, and pools. While fences can’t keep coyotes out of your yard, most fencing will be enough of a determent that your dog will not be in danger.
  • Keep food indoors and make sure you feed your pets indoors. If you care for feral cats, be sure that they have secure feeding areas that allow a two-way escape route. Here is more information about Winter Caretaking of Feral Cats.
  • If you compost, use enclosed bins and avoid meat or fish scraps. Keep trash tightly contained with tight-fitting lids.
  • Regularly rake areas around bird feeders to avoid attracting coyotes. Birds, squirrels and mice are easy prey for a coyote. When you feed birds or squirrels, you create an easy hunting area for predators.
  • Utilize hazing techniques:
    • A more in-depth look at coyote hazing, which is a non-lethal method of keeping coyotes away from your neighborhood, can be found here. They primarily consist of utilizing loud noises, spraying water, bright lights and shouting to deter overzealous coyotes from your property.

 

Making Pets Inaccessible

  • Keep collars on your pets: Coyotes attack by seizing an animal’s throat, causing suffocation and eliminating the chance of the attacking animal being injured. Wide, heavy collars and spiked collars dramatically increase the chance of your pets surviving an attack.
  • Spiked collars: There are many Advantages of Spiked Collars. Spiked collars have been used for centuries to protect pets from wildlife and are more than a fashion statement. If an attacking animal is met with a mouthful of spiked metal, they are far more likely to move onto easier prey. Wide, heavy collars also serve the same function as animals can’t suffocate or feel their prey’s pulse as easily.
  • Avoid letting pets out in yard during early morning and late afternoon: This is the hunting time of crepuscular (active at dusk and dawn) animals. This by no means your cats and dogs will not be attacked, it only helps decrease the likelihood. Never depend on “timing” for your pets safety.
  • Only allow pet doors to open onto an enclosed section. Utilizing a cat-fence or safety netting can save your pet’s life. Learn how you can easily build safe Outdoor Enclosures for Cats and Dogs.
  • Incorporate deterrents into your yard that keep wildlife at bay. These include:
    • Install Coyote Fencing: Coyote rollers can help keep wildlife out of your yard by eliminating any way for the coyote to grip the top of the fence and pulling themselves over. There are several ways to do this – we recommend using a professional install, or ordering direct from manufacturers like ColoradoCoyoteRollers. Here is an illustration of how Coyote Rollers work:
    • Nite Guard Solar Predator Control Light: Solar Powered Nite Guard Solar uses sunlight or daylight to charge. No batteries are ever needed. It will continue to activate during long periods of cloudiness. The powerful flash of red light produced from this LED system will automatically activate at dusk and will force all night animals to flee the area. Based on scientific research, Nite Guard Solar emits a flash of light implying to all animals that hunt or feed at night that they have been “discovered” or are being watched.
    • Contech Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler: The sprinkler combines a surprise spray of water with unexpected motion and noise to create a safe, effective deterrent to unwanted visitors, helping keep your garden looking its best.
    • Ultrasonic Pest & Animal Control Repeller: The Yard Sentinel also comes with the most complex Infrared Motion Sensor in order to detect ALL unwanted pest and maximize its full effective range no other sensor in the market can match its accuracy and range.
    • Bell Warning: This is used for deer, but works well for coyotes as well. Produces two separate and unique frequencies through air flow activation to protect against vehicle-animal collisions

Keep Cats Indoors

  • When walking your pets, be sure to carry a loud noisemaker such as a whistle, shaker can or air horn. We prefer the easily carried can of Pet Corrector, which creates a very loud hiss and is incredibly effective at scaring off any animal. Simply sounding these devices if you happen across a coyote or mountain lion could save your pet’s life and help deter wildlife from attacking others.
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Desert coyote

Interesting Facts About Coyotes

  • Coyotes play an important role in maintaining healthy ecosystems and naturally control other species, including rodents.
  • An adult coyote generally weighs about 20 lbs. and require relatively small amounts of food to survive.
  • An adult coyote can jump or climb an 8-foot fence. When planning fencing, keep that in mind.
  • Coyotes are generally quite shy and present a minimal risk to humans.
  • Coyotes are crepuscular (most active between dusk and dawn), but may be seen at any time of the day.
  • Coyotes are incredibly intelligent animals and will often observe human activity from what they perceive to be a safe distance.
  • Coyotes are curious, clever, and adaptable.
  • Coyotes quickly learn to take advantage of any newly discovered food source, and are often attracted to yards with abundant fruit and wildlife to eat.

Are Coyotes Legal to Hunt?

I’m not going to answer that because killing coyotes is not the answer. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t whine about them if you moved to an area to be “closer to nature.” Nature is beautiful, but it’s the raw beauty that draws us to it.

The more we infringe on their territory, take their water supply and diminish their prey, the more they will be forced to enter our neighborhoods. Whether you like it or not, predators play an important role in nature. Remove them, and you throw a delicate system off balance.

Brutality is occasionally a part of that beauty. Like the coyote, we need to learn to adapt to our new environments and learn to live peacefully with the wildlife that resides there already…

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