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Although coyotes may seem like nature’s more feral version of your dog, they are actually quite dangerous to have in the area. With their food sources shrinking, coyotes are becoming more adventurous and branching out into neighborhoods.
Not only will coyotes prey on livestock such as lambs and chicken, but they have also been known to attack dogs and cats as well.
With small dogs and cats making for an attractive food source, pet owners have to be more cautious when they know coyotes frequent the area.
What Attracts Coyotes to the Area?
There are a few things that will attract coyotes to your yard, but the biggest thing is a food source.
They may smell your dog’s feces, attracting them to at least check out the yard. They tend to go for smaller dogs and cats, so if you have a large dog it should be enough to deter them.
They also tend to eat any fallen fruit, so if you have trees that produce fruit on your property, make sure to keep your yard clean as often as possible. While this may not be a big deal if you don’t have any pets, you could be luring them into the yard to attack your smaller pets if you do have them.
If you have chickens or rabbits, the coyote will view them as easy prey. Their food sources are not as abundant these days thanks to the dwindling of their natural habitats, so they look for reliable, consistent sources of food wherever they can find it.
Additionally, they may be seeking shelter. If you have any large rock gathers, hollowed-out trees, or burrows that may have been created by a skunk or raccoon, these are the perfect hiding spots for coyotes to live in.
Check the area surrounding your yard thoroughly to inspect for hideaways.
How to Keep Coyotes Away
Now that we know why they are frequenting your yard, it is time to do something about it. As mentioned previously, your pets’ feces can be something that attracts them to your yard. Make sure to clean up the feces as frequently as possible.
Any fallen fruit in or near your yard should be handled as soon as possible, too. If you have livestock – chickens or lambs – make sure that they are kept in secure pens where the coyotes will not be able to enter.
But other than basic safety tips, are there other ways to keep your dogs protected? Try these tricks.
1 – Coyote Vests and Proper Supervision
With smaller dogs, there is always a chance that predators could target them. The best rule of thumb is to not leave your dog unsupervised. Coyotes will be deterred by human presence, so try to hang around whenever they do need to go outside.
There are also coyote vests specifically created for smaller dogs. The collars are made of Kevlar and even have spikes that run down the back. This makes it quite difficult for the coyotes to get a bite on your dog should they be able to get close enough.
If you can’t be with your pet while they are outside, having a coyote vest is one of the best ways to ensure that these predators won’t be very successful even if they do end up getting close enough to do some damage.
2 – Keep Your Yard Bright at Night
Nighttime can be an especially dangerous time for smaller dogs when you know that coyotes permeate the area.
A great way to keep them at bay is to light your yard up with motion sensor lights at night. Keep them pointed outward toward your fence line if at all possible.
The idea is that, if the coyotes come around, the lights will pop on and scare them away. Depending on just how bold the coyotes are that you deal with, this may or may not be the most effective solution at night.
It still couldn’t hurt to keep an eye on your dog at night.
3 – Remove Anything Attractive
While we briefly talked about things such as picking up fallen fruit or animal feces, there are other things that you can do to make the area less attractive.
If you have tall grasses in your yard, try to keep that down to a manageable level. Coyotes can hide in the tall grass, popping out to take a shot at your dog when they see fit.
It is also good to seal any of the potential openings that may be under your shed, deck, or porch. They have been known to take up residence here, giving them a prime opportunity at your smaller dogs whenever they may feel like.
4 – Coyote-Proof Fencing
Fencing is a great investment because it prevents your pets from taking off should they see something, and it can help to keep predators away. Coyotes will require a little bit more out of your fence, though, so there are some requirements that you will have to meet.
Since coyotes are pretty good jumpers, you need to ensure that your fence is at least six-feet tall. Oh yeah, they can also dig underneath.
So, in addition to making sure your fence is tall enough, it has to be buried at least 18 inches underground to prevent coyotes from simply burrowing underneath.
You don’t have to go with anything crazy; a simple barbed wire or PVC fence will do the job. You can also install coyote rollers. These are aluminum rods that are about 4-feet in length that spin whenever the coyote tries to grip them.
So, when they try to grip while climbing, they won’t be able to get proper footing.
Don’t Make it Easy
The biggest problem that small dog owners have with coyotes is that they make it easy for the coyotes.
Having open spaces with lots of places to hide, attractive food sources, or other attractions (such as the feces) that lure the coyotes to the area is just an open invitation for the coyotes to show up.
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