Coyotes roaming your area? If so, you should definitely be concerned about your pets' welfare. Fido and Kitty (especially Kitty!) might be at risk unless you keep a watchful eye out for them. Although coyotes can attack larger dogs, cats and small breeds are a lot more tempting than a German shepherd. Don't think your yard is safe either; a hungry coyote on a mission will do his best to get your dog or cat, no matter where they are.
Tip #1 - Shoo a coyote away if you see it approaching your yard. No matter how friendly or innocent he looks, coyotes are opportunistic hunters, which means they might wait around doing seemingly nothing right until the second before they attack.
Tip #2 - Keep Fido and Kitty inside at night. No ifs or buts about this. Coyotes hunt both day and night, but they might be more careful about approaching your property in broad daylight. They prefer to do their hunting under cover of darkness.
Tip #3 - If you live in a coyote-prone area, you might want to seriously consider making Kitty an indoor cat only. Though you may think it cruel to deny her outdoor access, be aware that research strongly suggests that indoor cats that are provided adequate mental stimulation live longer, healthier, and (arguably) happier lives. If you MUST let kitty out in your yard, erect a "cat post"—a 4x4 inch thick wood post that stands at least ten feet above the ground. A coyote can't climb it, but your cat will be able to scurry up the post out of the coyote's reach.
Tip #4 - You want to keep your furry friend close to you if you live in an area where coyotes roam. Never leave your dog alone in the yard (and certainly not chained up). This is especially important if you have a brave dog who might be up for the challenge if he sees a coyote—or if you have a less-than-smart one who's looking at a coyote and thinking "Hey, playmate!" Don't run when confronted with a coyote as this might be a signal to attack.
Tip #5 - Put up a fence or build a wall around your yard. And not a tiny, flimsy fence either, as coyotes are actually good jumpers—make sure the fence is at least six feet tall. Go the extra mile and put up some extenders facing outward at the top of the wall or fence. Walls might be even better, as coyotes can't see what's on the other side
Warning: Don't leave anything in the yard that might attract coyotes to your property such as bird feeders, pet food, open trash containers, and other appealing things can "invite" coyotes to come sniffing around.
By Tammy Dray
Urban Coyote Research: Coyote Attacks
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office: How to Avoid Coyote Conflicts
Desert USA: Coyote FAQ's
Humane Society: Coyotes, Pets and Community Cats
Humane Society: Peaceable Backyard Kingdom: Protecting Pets and Wildlife
American Humane Association: Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats
About the Author
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.