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With their habitats and food sources shrinking, coyotes are venturing closer to our neighborhoods and homes than we’d like. Not only do they prey on livestock such as chickens and lambs, but our cats and dogs can make an easy meal for these canine natives as well. Here are some ways you can protect your dog from coyote attacks, both at home and while you’re out enjoying nature.

Coyote Vests

After losing their own small dog to a coyote, one family vowed to help reduce the chance of a similar tragedy happening to someone else. Coyote vests are made for small dogs and have a Kevlar neck collar armed with 1-inch spikes and spikes down the back, making it hard for coyotes to get a bite. If you have a small dog, these vests may provide good protection in coyote country.

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Don’t Leave Your Dog Outside Unsupervised

If you’re not around to keep an eye on your dog, it’s best to leave him indoors where a coyote can’t get him, especially if you don’t have good fencing.

Coyote-Proof Fencing

Speaking of fencing, you should invest in one that’s solid, at least 6-feet tall, and buried in the ground at least 18 inches, since coyotes are amazing diggers. At the top, you need to put something that will stop even the most athletic coyote. This could be barbed wire or a tube of PVC pipe (its slick, round shape makes it almost impossible for a coyote to grip). You can also create an overhang on the outside of the fence. Finally, you can install coyote rollers, which are 4-foot aluminum rods that spin when a coyote tries to grip them, preventing an animal from climbing over. And unlike barbed wire or PVC pipe, coyote rollers aren’t ugly to look at and are usually accepted by homeowners’ associations.

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Light up Your Yard at Night

Another backyard tip is to install motion-sensor lights that are pointed outside your fence line. That way, if a coyote does come around, the light will turn on before he gets into your yard. The light will make most coyotes turn back.

Pick up Poop

Your dog’s feces can attract coyotes to your property, so keeping your yard or fields clear of poop can help lower the risk of attracting one. They will also eat fallen fruit, so picking up any windfalls is a good idea. Don’t leave trash outside in bags and make sure all garbage can lids are secure and cannot be tipped over.

Coyote Protection on Walks

The coyote vest mentioned above is great for your dog to wear on a walk if you’re in an area where you might encounter one. Keeping your dog on leash is also safer, since most coyotes are wary of people and won’t attack your dog if he’s close to you. Bringing something along that makes a loud noise — a whistle, bell, horn, etc. — is another good way to scare off a lingering coyote.

Remember that even if coyotes don’t attack your dog, they carry and transmit many diseases and parasites, including rabies, distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, mange, fleas, worms, and ticks. So, keeping them out of your neighborhood is something that should be on everyone’s radar. If you have community meetings, you may want to bring up these tips or suggest creating a Facebook group where neighbors can post coyote sightings. Together, you can keep your dogs (and other pets) safe.

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