Deter Coyotes & Protect Pets

How to Deter Coyotes

While coyotes are valuable in decreasing the rodent population, their presence in populated areas can be minimized. Coyotes can become a nuisance when they have easy access to food in residential areas, such as pet food or garbage. To discourage their presence:
  • DO feed pets indoors or promptly remove dishes when pets complete their meal outside. Store bags of pet food indoors.
  • DO clear brush and dense weeds from around property. This deprives rodents of shelter and reduces protective cover for coyotes.
  • DO use trash barrels equipped with tight clamping devices on the lids, which will prevent spills should they be tipped over by large animals.
  • DO try to educate your friends and neighbors about the problems associated with feeding coyotes.
  • DO not feed or provide water for coyotes or other wildlife. This practice abnormally attracts coyotes and promotes increased numbers of rodents, birds, snakes and other creatures that can provide major portions of the coyote’s natural diet.

How to Protect Pets

  • Keep small pets (cats, rabbits, small dogs) indoors. Don’t allow them to run free at any time. They are easy prey. Some coyotes hunt cats in residential areas.
  • Dogs should be brought inside after dark and never allowed to run loose. This is especially important during mating season, which is February through April.
  • Do not leave domestic pet food outside. Wildlife will soon depend on it.
Coyote sitting on dirt ground

Practice Good Animal Husbandry

  • Keep cats and small dogs indoors, allowing them outside only under strict supervision. In addition to coyotes, small pets often fall prey to free-roaming and feral dogs and great-horned owls.
  • Rabbits and other small animals often kept outdoors should be kept in well-protected areas and in sturdy cages at night. Cages made of chicken wire are meant only for keeping small animals contained. They will not keep desperate coyotes or other predators from entering. Stronger gauge wiring is a necessity in protecting these small animals.
  • Coyotes and all other predatory mammals are "opportunistic hunters. While the coyotes' principal diet may be small rodents and fruit, they will not hesitate to prey on small domestic animals if the "opportunity" provides for such. Consequently, if you move to or presently live in an area frequented by coyotes, it is your responsibility to afford fundamental protection for all of your domestic and companion animals.
  • Coyotes are attracted to and can mate with unspayed or unneutered domestic dogs. Unspayed female dogs in season will attract male coyotes, and, unneutered male dogs can be lured away by the scent of a female coyote in her ovulation cycle. Additionally, there have been cases of male dogs being lured by the female coyote's scent and killed by male coyotes. It is strongly advised that people living in areas frequented by coyotes have their dogs spayed or neutered to prevent such tragedies from occurring.
  • Trapping and re-location of coyotes is not a recommended, viable, or legal alternative. Coyote pups, although weaned at an early age, may remain with their mother into their second year, often helping the mother care for her newest litter. Disruption of this "pack" can mean devastation for the whole group or cause disoriented or suddenly orphaned coyotes to deviate from the norm and prey on easy game (i.e. small dogs, rabbits, cats, etc.)
Paw Prints with diameter and comparison domestic dog print

What to Do If You Encounter a Coyote

If you encounter a coyote, shout, clap or throw something in its direction (not directly at the coyote). Acting aggressively helps re-instill a fear of humans in coyotes and encourages them to stay away from residential areas.

Typical coyote behavior:
  • Coyotes live in prairies, brush areas and wooded edges but not in heavily wooded areas. They often live or travel along waterways.
  • While many coyotes live in packs, they usually travel and hunt alone. If you see a coyote, it will usually be alone.
  • Coyotes are nocturnal animals, but they may be visible during the day, especially in the summer.
  • Coyotes typically mate in February or early spring. During mating season, coyotes - especially males - may be more visible. It is especially important to keep pets on a leash during this time.