If you live near an area that has coyotes nearby, chances are you will come across one eventually. While they appear to be very similar to dogs, they are still a wild animal and should be treated as such. Coyotes are very adaptable to their environments and are rather smart animals. Typically, coyotes are afraid of people and leave residences alone. However, if you have pets or farm animals, you may be visited by coyotes.  It is essential to help coyotes remain in the wild and discourage them from coming on your property. Let’s learn more about Coyotes and how we can keep our homes and pets safe from these wild animals.

Facts about coyotes

According to coyotesmarts.org, here are some basic facts about coyotes.

How are coyotes a threat to our own pets?

Parasites and Disease

Like dogs, coyotes can get fleas, ticks, intestinal worms, heartworms, distemper, parvovirus, and mange. Because they live in the wild, coyotes are susceptible to rabies as well. However, they cannot “carry” the raccoon strain of rabies. There have not been any recent cases reported of coyotes having rabies.    

The Parasites

Parasites such as intestinal worms and heartworm can be spread to your pets without coyotes even coming near your pet. Intestinal worms are spread through the feces of the coyote, so if your pet comes across the feces, they could be susceptible to getting intestinal parasites.  Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes biting an infected dog and then biting your pet. The microscopic baby heartworms circulate into the bloodstream of the infected pet. When a mosquito takes blood from an infected animal, it picks up these baby heartworms. When the mosquito bites another pet, the heartworms will be able to enter the pet’s body via the mosquito’s bite wound on the pet. Learn more about heartworm from the American Heartworm Society.

Diseases

Aside from coyotes passing parasites to your pets, they can also pass diseases on to your pet. The distemper virus can be given to other dogs via bodily secretions, mainly coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, and nasal discharge. While your dog may not be near coyotes, distemper can also be introduced into the environment via urine from the infected dog. It does not live long in its environment once it has left the infected pet, so this is a small risk, but nonetheless, it is still a risk. Thankfully, most of our dogs are vaccinated against distemper regularly. Therefore, the likelihood of your pet getting distemper is low,  if you have kept your pet up to date on their vaccinations.  

Parvovirus is another disease that coyotes can get, which can be passed to your dogs.  Parvovirus is spread via bodily secretions such as vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog encounters feces from an infected pet, they could be at risk of catching parvovirus. Luckily, most dogs are vaccinated regularly, so again the risk is small for your pet to get parvovirus if your dog has been routinely vaccinated.  

Coyotes may prey on your pets

As we mentioned already, coyotes are also a threat because they may prey on your own pets. As our homes and neighborhoods have grown closer to natural coyote habitats, they have learned to search for garbage and small animals. Coyotes see dogs smaller than 40 pounds as a prey animal. Coyotes will also go after cats and smaller livestock, including chickens. If coyotes have had the chance to kill other farm animals, they may go after yours as well. 

Items that attract coyotes to our residences and neighborhoods

Coyotes try not to come near humans unless they have learned that we may have a food source for them. Coyotes are attracted to the following items that are found in our neighborhoods:

If everyone in the neighborhood does their part in picking up after themselves, it will help remove the coyote’s temptation to come near our homes.

What do we do if we come across a coyote?

Coyotes are usually afraid of humans. As we discussed, one reason a coyote may be brave around a human is that they have been finding something to eat in the neighborhood or on a property.  During the mating season, coyotes will also be more bold than usual because they are looking for their mates and finding reliable food sources.

Chances are, if you are going to come across a coyote, it will be on foot. Coyotes usually know to stay away from vehicles and will go away if they hear one approaching.

Safety tips for your home… and your pets

Here are some general safety tips for keeping your home and pets safe from coyotes.

What more can we do to protect our property and pets?

Aside from following the home safety tips mentioned, here are a few more things you can do to make coyotes feel unwelcome in your yard:

Prevention is the safest solution

Ultimately the more opportunities we have to keep coyotes in the wild, the better off our homes, neighborhoods, and pets will be. Preventing coyotes from roaming your house and community is the safest solution to ensure your homes and pets are safe. If you have spotted coyotes near your neighborhood, alert your neighbors and encourage them to be on the watch. With safe practices and diligence, you and your community can remain safe and coyote free.

For more information, visit the following websites:

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