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Did you know that late January through early March is coyote mating season? During these months, coyotes may become more aggressive due to territorial concerns and can be a threat to pets that go outdoors. Read on for tips on how to protect your pets during coyote mating season.
Although coyotes are usually nocturnal animals, during mating season as well as during pup rearing season (May-August), they can be seen out and about, even in more populated neighborhoods looking for potential mates while also protecting their territories or pups.
So what can you do as a pet parent to protect your precious pets from becoming a coyote's next meal? Here are 10 great tips on how to protect your pets during coyote mating season and beyond.
Protecting your pets from coyote attacks
- Avoid walking dogs after dark, especially during the hours of 7 pm-7 am a recent study showed that 70% of coyote attacks happened between those hours.
- Do not let small dogs under 20 pounds go outside unattended after dark, even if it's in your own backyard. Coyotes have been known to jump fences as high as 6 feet high to grab an unsuspecting dog or cat.
- Don't let dogs run off-leash in wooded areas, keep your dog close to you.
- Secure your garbage cans and do not leave dog or cat food outside which will attract coyotes and other wild animals.
- Do not use a retractable leash when walking your dogs. Instead, use a non-retractable six-foot leash which gives you more control over your pet.
- Keep shrubs and trees around your home trimmed to reduce areas where coyotes can hide.
- If you have bird feeders that contain birdseed, clean up the fallen seeds on a regular basis to prevent attracting rodents which are part of a coyote's natural diet.
- If you have fruit trees, pick up and dispose of fallen fruit which can attract coyotes.
- Install motion-sensor lights around your house to spook coyotes and deter them from coming too close to your home.
- Since most coyote attacks are on small dogs (in Southern California 80% of attacks were on small dogs under 22 pounds) you may want to invest in an anti-coyote jacket or collar. Made of puncture-resistant kevlar, metal spikes, and long, stiff nylon whiskers, these vests can protect the main areas where coyotes tend to grab dogs.
Most importantly, if you do happen to come across a coyote with your pet, do not run away from the coyote, this will only make the coyote chase you and your pet. Instead, stand up straight, and make yourself appear as large as possible while maintaining eye contact with the coyote. Wave your arms in the air, yell loudly, and throw rocks or sticks in the coyote's direction which should frighten the coyote off. Meanwhile, slowly back away from the coyote while performing the actions above until you are a safe distance from the coyote.
If you must walk your dog in the early morning or evening, it would be wise to have some of these coyote deterrents with you in case of an encounter:
- This personal safety alarm produces a 130 dB alarm along with an extremely bright light which should startle coyotes away
- This loud dog horn will not only startle coyotes away but will also deter aggressive dogs as well.
- This stun-gun flashlight combo is great when walking dogs in the dark. The noise and sparks from the stun gun will definitely spook a coyote.
- A great handsfree way to have extra light is with this rechargeable running light
- A rechargeable LED leash and harness is a great way to keep your dog visible during walks.
Although coyote attacks are quite rare and not as common as people might think, if your dog does get bit by a coyote, you should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately. The vet can clean and sterilize the wound, start your dog on antibiotics, and assess whether or not your dog will require stitches or surgery.
We all want to keep our beloved pets safe, but we must also learn to co-exist peacefully with the coyotes as they are native to North America and provide an important function for the ecosystem, namely rodent regulation which helps to boost biodiversity.
In the end, it is really up to pet owners to be hyper-vigilant when it comes to their pets. Indoor cats have a much longer life expectancy than outdoor or indoor/outdoor cats. If your cat loves the outdoors, you might consider installing a catio or enclosed outdoor space.
Small dogs especially toy breeds like Chihuahuas and Yorkies should always be kept under close supervision and never be alone outside, especially during the twilight hours. Not only are small dogs more susceptible to coyote attacks, but they can also become victims of attack from larger dogs, hawks, and other wildlife like raccoons, porcupines, skunks, and venomous snakes.
We hope these tips have been helpful to you! Please leave a comment if you have any other tips to keep pets safe from coyote attacks.