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What to Do When You See a Coyote

What to Do When You See a Coyote - Coyotes, they’re wild animals that roam the grasslands and foothills of North America. But they’re becoming more and more frequent guests to suburbs and even cities. So, what should you do if you or your pet comes across one? More on that here in a bit, but first…How dangerous are coyotes? 

Coyotes are rather reclusive animals that don’t enjoy or seek the company of humans. They wouldn’t move closer to us by choice. But as cities are growing and pushing into what used to be wild areas, people are the ones moving closer to coyotes! Now these canines aren’t as afraid of humans as they used to be and feel safe roaming around backyards, even with the homeowners nearby!

They’ve already realized there’s food in human neighborhoods, and they don’t mind helping themselves to it. It could be something out of the trash, the garden, or, worst-case scenario, your pets! If there’s just one coyote watching you, it may be doing this out of curiosity. However, if you have a dog that’s smaller than the coyote, who knows what might be going through this invader’s mind?

What to Do When You See a Coyote

“Mmm, Bichon steak, my favorite!” A pack of coyotes, which is fortunately a rarity in cities or suburbs, is a whole other ballgame though! When there’s a group of them, what do they have to fear?Luckily, cases of coyotes attacking dogs are very uncommon. But still, it’s every pet owner’s responsibility to keep their furry friend out of harm’sway. 

So here’s…How to protect your dog from coyotes:

- Don’t leave your dog unattended. If you live in a high-risk area, always keep an eye on your pooch, even when it’s playing in your own backyard. Genetically, dogs and coyotes have a lot in common, so they’re naturally attracted to each other. That means it’s not always the coyote chasing the dog , it can be vice versa! 

If your pet spots a coyote across the fence, it might decide to beeline straight for this unfamiliar visitor. When you’re going for a walk with your dog, keep it on a leash. A non-retractable kind is your best bet because you’ll be able to control your pet and keep it close in case of a rendezvous. 

Those wild doggos are still mostly afraid of humans, so your close presence will serve as a protective shield. If you have a little dog, it’s even better if you pick it up when things get dangerous. 

- Plan your walking route wisely. One of the best things you can do to avoid running into a coyote is avoiding areas that are known to have plenty of them. Coyotes don’t like bright light, so walking on a well-lit street or path is a good idea. If that’s not an option, take a flashlight with you and create your own source of bright light.

- Be more careful at certain times of the day and year. Baby coyotes are born in spring, so their parents get way more protective and, thus,dangerous from April to August. That’s when they’re on high alert to keep their cubs out of danger, even if that “danger”is just your goofy beagle running up to try and make a new friend. 

As for the time of day, they’re most active at night. By nature, they like to get around during the day, but urban life has changed coyotes. They’ve adapted to sniff around when the sun’s not out in hopes of not getting spotted by humans. That’s why you should keep an extra eye on your pet if you prefer to walk it just after sunset. 

- Don’t feed wildlife. The main thing that brings coyotes to areas filled with humans is the search for food. So don’t be surprised by a visit if you leave something tasty out for them. And if they get it once, they’ll come back for more. For the same reason, don’t feed any of your pets outside, any leftovers become a source of risk. Even birdseed can cause you trouble because rodents come after it, and they’re an easy catch for coyotes. On that note…

- Keep your yard clean. A dirty grill that you forgot to clean after a delicious BBQ, fallen fruit you were too lazy to pick up, any kind of edible trash, all of those are natural attractants for coyotes. And, yeah, even your dog’s poop is a threat because coyotes can smell it from afar. If you have compost in your backyard, make sure the bin on it is always securely closed. Don’t throw meat in there either because, well, obviously the smell is irresistible to them. Shrubs and fallen branches also put your pet at risk because they make an excellent natural hiding spot for sneaky visitors. 

- Set up a good fence. A fence that’s at least 8 feet tall made out of a material that’s hard to climb isa good precaution. To make sure coyotes won’t get in from digging under it, the fence should extend underground at least 2 feet deep. One more thing, if you have an invisible fence, remember it works its magic on your dog so that it doesn’t get out, but it won’t stop a coyote from getting in!

- Get some protective gear for your dog. These days, they make anti-coyote Kevlar jackets  for dogs. Many of them are extra-protected with spikes on the back. There are also collars with spikes to protect your little guy’s neck. Not gonna lie, they look pretty cool and hardcore! Ok, hopefully those preventative measures will keep you from coming face-to-snout with a coyote in the first place. 

But just in case… What should you do if you see a coyote?

- First thing’s first, walk confidently and stay calm. I know it’s easier said than done, but if the coyote is still pretty far away, you can just walk out of trouble with your dog on the leash or in your arms. Avoid running by all means. It triggers their hunter instinct, so they’ll be more likely to chase after you. And a coyote is always faster than you, trust me. Don’t turn your back to the animal either. Be confident but cautious!

- If you realize it’s too late to just walk away and the coyote is interested in either you or your dog, or both, you have to show it that you aren’t afraid of it at all. To do that, pretend to be larger and more intimidating than you actually are, no one likes to start beef with a bigger stronger enemy. 

Stand tall and wave your arms. Yell aggressively and in an authoritative tone. If there are any cans, sticks, or pebbles around, throw them for extra noise. Stomping your feet also helps. Blow a whistle or an air horn, ring a bell, use any noise source you can. Looking it in the eye will also show how powerful and confident you are. 

- In case the coyote got into your backyard, use hoses, spray bottles with vinegar water, or any other things that could scare away the predator.

- Sometimes they’ll start to run off but then stop and look back. Remember to keep scaring it away, don’t stop just because the coyote started to retreat. It might take more than one attempt to get rid of it for good.

- One important thing you should do after the predator’s gone is report the incident to your local authorities!It’s crucial to keep track of sightings to inform others of possible danger in the area. And finally…What should you do after an attack? Let’s hope it never happens to your pet, but if it does, it’s always best when you know what to do! 

You have to take your dog to the vet immediately for the wounds to be cleaned and treated. Even if it just looks like a minor scratch or bite, still take them in. The vet will give your fur baby a rabies vaccine and antibiotics if necessary. Luckily, rabies isn’t that common among coyotes, but the shot is almost always protocol with any wild animal bite. 

Have you ever spotted a coyote? Let me know down in the comments.

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