Protecting Pets from Coyotes

As the weather cools, pet owners should be more vigilant about protecting their pets from coyotes.  According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, coyotes require more calories during cold weather and also can be seen hunting during daylight hours in the colder months.  The following tips can help pet owners be aware of coyote activity and threats*:

Discouraging Coyotes Near Homes
– Frighten coyotes with loud noises; use unnatural odors (such as ammonia) to clean trashcans.
– Yell and throw things at coyotes whenever you see them near your home.
– Cleanup food attractants such as dog food, garbage and spilled seed beneath birdfeeders.
– Use yard lights with motion detectors – appearance of the sudden light may frighten coyotes away.

Protecting Pets and Children
– Keep pets in fenced areas or kennels; remember split rail fences and invisible fences will not keep your pet safe from predators. Pet kennels and runs should have a fully-enclosed roof.
– Provide human supervision while outdoors, even in your own backyard.
– Do not allow pets (or children) to run loose in areas where there is coyote activity. Keep pets on leash or leave the area when you see a coyote. Most urban areas have leash laws requiring dogs to be under control. Coyotes and foxes are thought to be responsible for many cat disappearances in residential neighborhoods.
– Although rare, coyotes could potentially to injure people. Teach your family not to approach wildlife and never feed wildlife.
– Treat the presence of a coyote as an unfamiliar and potentially threatening dog.

Coyote Encounters
– Rural coyotes are wary of humans and avoid people whenever possible. Urban coyotes seem to be more comfortable around humans.
– Overtly aggressive behavior toward people is not normal and should be reported.
– Never feed or attempt to “tame” a coyote.
– Do not turn your back or run from a coyote.
– If approached or followed by a coyote, make loud noises, yell and make yourself look big.
– If the coyote approaches to an uncomfortably close distance, throw rocks or other objects.
– Report coyote problems to the nearest Colorado Parks and Wildlife Office.

For more information, see this flyer, brochure, and postcard from the Division of Wildlife.  These resources also discuss how to minimize human interactions with coyotes.


Photo by David Hannigan, courtesy of Colorado Division of Wildlife

*this information was originally published in a DOW press release.