Will Coyotes Attack Dogs? – Whats Best For Your Pet

Coyotes may attack dogs, but it is important to put it in perspective. Attacking coyotes are more rare than common, and most attacks occur in winter, which is the breeding time for coyotes.

Most attacks are on small dogs. An attack on a small dog or puppy might be for food (yes, coyotes will eat dogs), but in general, predators prefer to eat prey animals, not other predators like another canine. Considering how many coyotes and dogs are coexisting in most areas, the risk is low in general.

The Lone Coyote

Almost all the time, a lone coyote will skirt away from you and your dog. If you see several coyotes together, it’s usually a family group as opposed to a true pack. Still, coyotes will sometimes work cooperatively on a hunt. A lone dog is more at risk if there are multiple coyotes.

Coyote Diet

The diet for the average coyote consists heavily of rodents and rabbits, along with berries, corn left in fields, and fresh roadkill. Unfortunately, with the loss of true habitat, the ever-adaptable coyote has moved into suburban and city environments. While rodents may be prevalent, a city coyote is more likely to come across small dogs and cats.

Coyotes and People

Most coyotes will avoid a dog with a human, but if the coyote is ill, such as with rabies, all bets are off. If you know there are coyotes in your area, keep your dog on leash.

A male coyote will be attracted to a female dog in heat – I had seven howling coyotes on my front lawn when one of my dogs was in heat one time. This means you must be extra vigilant at those times. Coyotes and dogs can interbreed, so the visit may be for love, not war, but it’s still unwanted.

In the spring, coyotes are raising their pups and may be aggressive while defending their dens. Stay away from coyote pups.

Never feed coyotes or otherwise attract them to your yard. They will go to feral cat colony feeding stations as they are equal opportunity eaters.

If you spot a coyote while out with your dog (who is on leash hopefully), do not turn and run. That will attract the coyote. Make noise while moving away steadily and calmly.

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About the Author: Tony Ramos

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