Preventing Wildlife Attacks On Pets
Having a pet attacked or killed by wildlife is a traumatic experience. However, there are easy steps you can take to prevent attacks and keep your pet(s) safe.
- Watch out for your pets. Keep pets inside when possible. When a pet does go outside, make sure it is on a leash or in a fenced-in yard with access to shelter. Small dogs, cats, rabbits and other domestic pets should never be left alone outside at night.
- Reduce food sources. Property owners should limit the availability of unintentional food sources such as spilled bird seed, pet food, ripe fruit or trash. When these resources are available, they attract mice and other small mammals. That in turn attracts predators such as coyotes and foxes to the neighborhood.
- Use a leash when going for a walk. Like any parent, wildlife will aggressively defend their young. If a coyote or fox starts following you and your dog while you are walking, you may have accidentally gotten too close to a den. Keep your dog close to you, wave your arms, throw rocks (to scare the animal away, not to injure it) and shout until the animal stops following or goes away. Find another route to walk for a few weeks.
- Talk with your neighbors. Let others know if you’ve seen coyotes or foxes in the neighborhood. A coyote or fox moving through a neighborhood is not usually cause for concern. A coyote or fox that approaches people may indicate a situation that could later escalate. These animals should be driven away from homes and yards so they don’t become comfortable in these areas. Yelling, arm waving, banging pots or pans or spraying water from a hose are all ways to let the animals know they aren’t welcome in that area.
- Carry an umbrella. Sometimes hawks, red-winged blackbirds or other birds will “dive bomb” people or pets. Using an umbrella will keep the bird a safe distance away from you and your pet.