Wildlife in the ‘Hood: Keeping Your Pets Safe from Coyotes
As our communities grow, we continue to encroach further and further into the natural habitats of many species of wildlife. Coyotes are quickly joining the ranks of squirrels, raccoons, skunks, and other wild animals that have adapted to the ever-expanding human population, making prevention strategies to keep pets safe from coyotes more important now than ever.
Coyotes prey on small mammals and occupy an important place in their natural ecosystems by helping to keep rodent populations down. Coyotes are also opportunistic, and as human homes and businesses encroach on coyote habitat, they will turn to whatever food source is easily available, including garbage and even small pets!
The dangers of coyotes go beyond attacks to our pets. Coyotes can carry and transmit dangerous diseases, including rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and others. Coyotes are also a source of fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites that can be passed along to pets.
Keeping Pets Safe from Coyotes
Learning how to coexist safely with coyotes involves protecting your home, pets, and family. You can discourage coyotes from sniffing around your property in the following ways:
- Keep pet food and water inside
- Supervise pets while outdoors, and never leave pets out overnight
- Never leave a dog tied up outside
- Keep pets leashed at all times while in public or on a walking/hiking trail
- Keep trash and recycling bins securely covered
- Cover compost piles
- Reduce available nesting and hiding areas for rodents (coyote prey) by keeping tall grasses, weeds, and brush trimmed and removing any debris piles in and around your property
- Fencing at least 6 feet in height, and with at least 6 inches buried underground, is an effective way to keep coyotes out of your yard
- Never intentionally feed a coyote, and if you see one, scare or shoo it away immediately
Keeping an Eye Out
Wild areas and river corridors (such as the Dupage River Trail and surrounding area) make good habitats for coyotes. Whether you’re waiting for spring to hit the trail with your pet, or you’re already taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather, the following tips will help minimize your contact with coyotes:
- Silence is not your friend while on a hike. Make some noise as you walk along, whether that is singing, talking, or even a bell attached to your pet’s collar, to alert coyotes and other animals to your presence.
- Keep your dog leashed at all times and never allow him or her to chase, bark at, or approach any animal.
- Don’t bring food, dog treats, or anything that could entice a coyote to follow you.
- If you see a coyote, do not turn and run. Raise your arms over your head and wave them, clap, shout, and otherwise attempt to scare the coyote away.
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return.
If you witness or suspect that your pet has been attacked or bitten by a coyote, please contact The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center immediately. For emergencies after hours, please call (630) 337-3070.