Why Do Coyotes Kill Dogs

The likelihood of encounters between dogs and coyotes is on the rise as more and more people move into coyote areas with their pets.

These interactions have the potential to be fatal, especially for little canines that are easy prey. Coyotes can be attracted by human waste and food, which is a good supply for both.

Coyotes begin mating in February, and from April until August is when they start having pups. To feed their young, they hunt more frequently, and they also become more territorially protective.

Attacks might be more frequent then, but during the winter, when food is scarce, coyotes might become more frightened and enter human territory, which might result in more dog-related occurrences.

It’s crucial to be on guard throughout the year to keep your dog safe from coyote attacks. Here are eight strategies to help you safeguard your dog in the event of a coyote sighting and lessen the likelihood of your dog being attacked by one.


A big dog can be killed by a coyote.

One could argue that urban wildlife like coyotes can be respected for being and what they are in accordance with the general Fear Free philosophy.

Coyotes have persevered. Coyotes are among the rare species that have managed to survive and even flourish right beneath our noses while many others have paid a price for coming into contact with people.

Although some people have an exaggerated and unfounded dread of coyotes, the cunning canines support a healthy ecosystem. Their rodent control efforts, particularly in metropolitan areas, are beneficial to golf courses and other regions. While the control of the rat population can help to reduce the occurrence of leptospirosis in a town, dogs should rely on a vaccine to avoid leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is an infectious disease that spreads through the urine of affected animals and is brought on by bacteria in the genus Leptospira. Rats frequently spread the sickness. Leptospirosis is zoonotic, meaning it may spread from humans to dogs and can be lethal to dogs.

Many metropolitan areas are seeing an increase in coyote populations. They are infrequently seen on camera traps in Central Park in New York City. The situation is different in Chicago. On a sweltering day, a coyote entered the convenience store there and was seen standing next to the beer cooler. On a busy summer Friday night in the bar district near Wrigley Field in the Windy City, a pair of coyotes casually strolled among customers before scurrying away. Nobody gave it much thought. Coyotes are common in urban Arizona, as they are throughout much of the United States.

However, many people panic and call animal control or the police as soon as they even spot a coyote or seek vengeance after a coyote has killed their pet dog or cat. While it is reasonable that people are outraged—after all, pets are family—nearly all coyote attacks were preventable.

Coyotes rarely attack people, however they will take mid-sized or tiny dogs or kittens, or they will attack elderly huge dogs. Almost always, these attacks can be stopped.

It is true that cats used to living outside may be challenging to convince to live their entire lives indoors. Even yet, it is often possible to make this shift by doing so gradually while also improving the indoor environment, making indoor life just as interesting as outdoor life.

While letting your dog run free in your yard unattended is simpler, there are inherent concerns in areas where coyotes are present. Being on a leash with an adult at the other end is the key to keeping dogs safe, and it’s really not that complicated.

When a brazen coyote comes your way when you’re walking the dog, yell “Leave now! Carry citronella spray, which effectively scares away wild animals and loose dogs without endangering your own animals.

It is possible to keep coyotes out of your yard with effective fencing. Coyote-proof fences are either at least 6 feet tall with a protective device on top, such as a coyote roller, which rolls off any coyotes attempting to scramble over the fence, or at least 8 feet tall and composed of a material that coyotes cannot climb.

Do-it-yourself Coyotes can’t obtain the foothold they need to climb over your fence by having piping or chicken wire installed at the top. Make sure a fence extends at least 12 inches underground to deter coyotes from digging below it.

If owners don’t lure coyotes into their yards by leaving out pet food, they will be less inclined to do so. Putting tight-fitting coyote-proof lids on trash cans minimizes the availability of prospective feasts. Coyotes may be further scared off by synthetic wolf urine. Spray it all around the yard’s boundaries (reapply after a rain). Coyotes are not plotting to kill our dogs; they are only trying to survive. Keep this in mind. Instead of purposefully attracting them and then attempting to kill them, it is preferable to coexist with them.

Dr. Kenneth Martin, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist, and/or veterinary technician Debbie Martin, an expert in behavior, evaluated and revised this material.

Two nationwide pet radio shows are hosted by Steve Dale, a CABC (certified animal behavior consultant), and air on Chicago’s WGN Radio. CATSTER, Veterinary Practice News, and the Journal of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America are just a few of the journals where he regularly contributes or writes columns. He has made numerous TV appearances, including ones on National Geographic Explorer, Animal Planet, and Oprah. He has written or contributed to a number of veterinary textbooks and pet publications, including “The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists published two books: The Cat: Clinical Medicine and Management and co-edited Decoding Your Dog. He presents in gatherings all around the world. www.stevedale.tv.

A dog can be killed by a coyote.

The odd attack on a household pet by a coyote is one of the worst confrontations between people and coyotes. It is not uncommon to discover a report of a pet attack or a lost cat (suspected to have been devoured by a coyote) in the local newspaper in some coyote-populated areas. We looked through newspaper databases for stories of pet assaults in the Chicago metropolitan region in order to better understand coyote attacks on domestic animals. We discovered records of 70 dog assaults, 10 cat attacks, and reported attacks on a duck and a pig through these articles. Pet assaults in the Chicago metropolitan region increased from 0–2 per year to 6–14 reported attacks per year between 1990 and 2004. Additionally, we discovered more records of assaults in the late fall, winter, and early spring than in the summer. The most often recorded attacks occurred in the towns and cities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Geneva, North Shore, and Palatine.

Attacks on Dogs

Coyotes are said to have attacked almost 30 different breeds of dogs. With 20 small breeds, 3 medium breeds, and 6 large breeds assaulted, smaller breed dogs were attacked more frequently than medium and large sized canines. Larger breeds, like Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers, have also been attacked in the Chicago metropolitan region, despite the fact that smaller breeds are more frequently targeted. Larger dog breeds were typically attacked by two or more coyotes at once, frequently alpha pairs.

Although occasional attacks on larger breeds were fatal as well, attacks on smaller dog breeds were more frequently fatal and typically included a single coyote. The breeds that were attacked the most frequently were Yorkshire terriers and Shih Tzus (6 assaults apiece), followed by Jack Russell terriers and Labrador Retrievers (5 attacks each), boxers, and poodles (4 attacks each). Attacks on dogs were more frequent in the winter than in the spring and summer, which coincides with coyote mating season. Dogs have been attacked when outside in their backyards, both while they were unattended and when their owners were present, as well as while the owners were walking the dogs at a park.

How can you help? Exercise cautious while letting your dog out in the open if you know there are coyotes in your neighborhood (especially if it is a small breed). Coyotes have been known to jump over fences, although fences can help keep them out of your yard. The finest fences for deterring coyotes include a roll bar on top and are at least six feet tall. Additionally, you should always keep your dog on a leash when walking it in a park where coyotes are common. You should also carry a walking stick, a noisemaker, or mace in case your dog is attacked. After all, you might run into more than just coyotes; keep in mind that there is a considerably higher risk of assault from uncontrolled domestic dogs than there is from coyotes. Be mindful of behavioral fluctuations throughout the year, and most importantly, ensure sure nobody in your community is feeding the coyotes outside.

Attacks on Cats

In the Chicago area, coyotes do attack and kill domestic cats, although cat assaults are much harder to prove than dog attacks. Nearly half of the 10 cat attacks reported in the Chicago area involved missing cats that their owners believed had been devoured by coyotes (but attacks were not confirmed). Keeping your cat indoors at all times is the greatest strategy to prevent a coyote assault on it. It’s crucial to avoid leaving food outdoors for your cat if you have to let it out (or for other cats in the neighborhood). Outside food may draw coyotes, which might then attack your cat (or dog).

A coyote will target dogs of what sizes, right?

“Public worries about coyotes attacking people and dogs, particularly youngsters, have grown as coyotes have become more widespread. Although some coyotes may act boldly around humans, there is very little chance that one will really attack someone. If coyotes are purposefully fed and later come to link people with food, this risk may rise. Especially cats and small dogs, coyotes will attack and devour pets (less than 25 pounds). Keeping pets indoors is the greatest way to keep them safe. Small dogs should always be on a leash and under careful supervision, while cats should be kept inside, especially at night. The long-term approach for safeguarding pets is to erect kennels or coyote-proof fencing. Homeowners can also get rid of other things that attract coyotes, like pet food left outside, table scraps in compost bins, and rotting fruit under fruit trees.”

However, as Traugh points out, larger dogs can still be attacked, especially if they are elderly.

Editor’s note: Chris Vann’s information was added to this item at 7:14 p.m. on March 15, 2012.

Do coyotes frighten canines?

Many people worry about their safety when they first come across urban coyotes. Fortunately, coyote assaults on people are extremely uncommon. Coyotes typically weigh between 25 and 35 pounds, and they lack the confidence or strength to attack an adult human.

Because youngsters are smaller and sometimes cannot distinguish between a coyote and a typical dog, the hazards to them are slightly higher. However, in the past 100 years, there has only been one fatal coyote assault on a youngster that has been documented.

True danger from coyotes exists for both domestic and wild cats and dogs. After minor encounters, unvaccinated animals have the danger of contracting rabies from infected coyotes. Sadly, the majority of coyote contacts with animals result in the animal being eaten.

Are coyotes frightened of dogs?

Your dog is likely to be able to scent a nearby coyote if he has a keen sense of smell and is openly aware of his surroundings. Different dogs will react differently, but many will show signs of increased awareness of their surroundings, including becoming alert and anxious.

Your dog may begin searching the area with his nose for any signs or hints that could point to the coyote’s location. If your dog eventually discovers the coyote, they might either run after it or stay by your side, alert ears pricked. Although it might be difficult to predict how a dog will act when they smell a coyote, any unusual behaviors should be your first clue.

Do coyotes fear howling dogs?

Have you ever encountered what at first glance appeared to be a lost dog but was actually a coyote? People who live close to wildlife refuges, woodlands, or farms frequently see coyotes, but this is increasingly changing.

We must be mindful of their growing coexistence with people in metropolitan settings more than ever while we are out on our own or with our dogs. However, because coyotes are so advantageous to our natural ecology, it is crucial how people choose to cohabit. Coyotes are the top predators in our cities because they are omnivores. They are also referred to as “nature’s clean-up crew” since they scavenge on dead animals and control the rodent population.

The “Song Dog” of North America, the Eastern Coyote, and the Algonquin Wolf have DNA in common. Coyotes mate for life and have close familial ties when allowed to survive on their own. Depending on the availability of food, each family of coyotes maintains and guards a territory or home range that ranges in size from 5 to 28 square kilometers (3 to 18 square miles). They are adept foragers who use a variety of waste products from both the natural and human worlds.

It is inevitable that we will come into contact with these gorgeous animals because more of us are engaging in outdoor activities to get our fitness and find serenity during the pandemic, but it is crucial to be prepared in case it does. When faced with a coyote, dogs will naturally raise their hackles and may display worried body language if they are seen in the distance. Most frequently, dogs will yelp and go into defensive mode, warning the coyote to stay away.

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Should you be scared if your dog barks at a coyote?

Howling, barking, whining, sniffing, making eye contact, and using body language are all ways that dogs communicate with wildlife, including coyotes. Barking can attract a coyote’s attention, but it is more likely to scare one away once it becomes aware of people nearby. To minimize further escalation, attempt to divert your dog with goodies or alter the situation if it appears anxious to connect with wildlife. This will lessen interaction and communication.

It is crucial to watch out for your dog chasing a coyote because these animals have a different perspective on pursuit. Making sure there is a lot of space between you, your dog, and the coyote reduces communication and makes it harder for bad situations to arise.

If You Notice Coyotes in Your Neighborhood

It is possible to coexist peacefully with coyotes by using aversion conditioning, which pairs an unpleasant stimulus with unfavorable behavior. These methods can help coyotes resume their natural avoidance of people and reduce direct contact.

If you see a rise in coyotes in your neighborhood, get in touch with your local fish and wildlife agency for advice. Depending on the coyote family, aggressive and persistent activity may be needed to get them to move completely. That being stated, only qualified experts with hands-on experience in these cutting-edge methods should carry out a high-intensity hazing of a coyote family.

What to do if a Coyote is Approaching You and Your Dog

Keep your cool, make eye contact, and carefully back away as you leave the area. Never try to flee from a coyote since that can make it feel threatened and make it want to pursue you. Use any personal alarm tools you may have to frighten or intimidate the coyote, such as a whistle, bell, or phone alarm.

  • Pause and remain still
  • Make a Big Difference
  • Be abrasive and outspoken.
  • Slowly retreat
  • NEVER run while turning around.

Walking in the direction of the coyote while shouting but not screaming, standing tall, making oneself look huge, flailing your arms, and doing all of this until he or she goes away. Use a noisemaker, such as your voice, an airhorn, a whistle, pots and pans, a pop can filled with rocks shaken, a huge rubbish bag snapped, jingling keys, etc. All of these might be very successful.

Always maintain a secure distance. It might require more than one of the aforementioned deterrents to repel coyotes trained in these methods.

If the coyote decides to show aggressive behavior, remember to make yourself look big by raising your hands, stomping your feet, shaking your jacket, and making noise while shouting “Go Away!”

If the coyote decides to keep coming your way, which is a rare occurrence, you can hurl rocks or sticks in its general direction. However, make sure NOT to hit the coyotes. Tennis balls, piles of dirt, or sticks all work well. Remember to pick up your youngster or small dog into your arms if you are strolling with them so the coyote has less motive to pursue you.

As pet owners, we need to:

  • Remove attractants: Bird feeders placed around the house attract rats and other small mammals, luring foxes, coyotes, and raptors. Make sure to pick up any food or fruit that has fallen from fruit trees. Pet food should never be left outside since it will draw unwanted wildlife. If you feed wild or feral animals, keep the food out for 30 minutes before taking it away. All trash should be placed in locked compost bins.
  • No letting your pets roam unaccompanied: Resist the impulse to let your pets roam unsupervised. Make sure to accompany your dog outside at night so you can watch them relieve themselves. Coyotes and other animals can enter backyards undetected in search of food.
  • Keep all farm animals fenced in: To protect them from guests who like to dig under fences at night, keep all farm animals fenced in in your backyard.
  • Give wildlife the room they need: Teach your dog to respect wildlife and not bother or chase it, whether it’s a squirrel, rabbit, or coyote.
  • Clean up your property: Eliminate large brush heaps because they make the ideal hiding place for predators. Pick up your dog’s waste since pet excretions draw rats, which in turn draw larger creatures. Keep all areas where you cook outdoors spotless. If you reside on a farm, get rid of deceased stock right away and safely.
  • Avoid particular walking times: Coyotes are most active at sunrise and dusk, so keep your eyes alert and pay attention to your surroundings during these times.

Keep in mind that every animal created has a significant part in preserving our natural ecosystems and the cycle of life on which people depend; we need them just as much as they need us. Coyotes are already a part of our urban areas and will continue to be. We have the opportunity to rebuild our bonds with these city dogs and encourage peaceful coexistence.

Wildlife Reminders:

When necessary, consider having a noisemaker or pet corrector horn with you.

Keep your distance and call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or your local fish and game department if you come across a sick, hurt, or abandoned animal.

The CEO and Founder of DOGORA is Nicholas Mozas. He has an M.Sc. in Neutragenomics and graduated from the University of Guelph with a degree in biological science. After graduating, Nicholas worked as an animal hospital manager to better understand the requirements of both pet owners and their animals.