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How to prevent and fend off a coyote from attacking you and your dog

So what would you do if a coyote attacked your dog?


Not good practice to go out looking to fight cayotees. The coyote will either win right there on the spot or just sue you later. All joking aside, prevention is the best course of action, but you can just skip to the end if you want to be a hero.

A friend of mine recently put it out there on Facebook that he saw a coyote walking around our neighborhood in Buffalo which is something you wouldn’t expect to see in a city within a region of a million and half people. There are several reasons for this. First off, with all the building taking place- building materials are coming in off trains and the coyote probably hitched a ride. Second, the entire city was designed around an extensive park system where there are a few wide open areas.

How often do coyotes attack dogs (especially large ones)?

Coyote attacks on dogs do happen, but the frequency can vary depending on several factors, including location, the presence of food, and the time of year. In areas where coyotes are prevalent and human habitations are close to coyote habitats, interactions can occur more often.

It’s a common misconception that coyotes only target small dogs. While it’s true that smaller breeds are more vulnerable and easier targets, larger dogs are not completely safe either. In certain situations, especially when a coyote feels cornered or threatened, or during their mating season when they are more territorial, even large dogs can become targets. In packs, coyotes can also become bold enough to attack bigger prey.

However, larger dogs do have the advantage of being more intimidating to potential coyote attackers. They are often louder and more powerful, which could cause a coyote to think twice before engaging. Nonetheless, regardless of your dog’s size, it’s crucial to take all the recommended preventive measures to protect them from potential coyote encounters.

With that noted, here is how to fend a coyote off should you and or your dog ever inadvertently cross paths with one.

For more tips on ensuring your pet’s safety and happiness, even in indoor settings, check out our guide.


Don’t give a coyote the benefit of the doubt, try to feed it treats, feel sorry for it, assume it’s friendly, think it wants to make friends and play with your dog, or that you can reason with it.

It’s general logic that you can not reason with a coyote.

If a coyote is an animal and animals lack the ability to reason than you can not reason with a coyote. (Master that you may just get a 137 on the LSAT.)

In fact, Coyotes often use niceness as a strategy to earn trust before going for the attack when your guard is down or to bring a dog back to their den where there are more coyotes. Your dog may think he has a new friend, but he will be killed and eaten each and every time. These are wild animals- not domesticated ones. They are out for one purpose only- to scavenge or hunt for food. Don’t be stupid.


If a coyote is close enough to notice and follow you – don’t run away from it. He will catch you and he will know that you are scared of him. If you show fear- he may think twice about attacking.


Clean up after your dog (and yourself). Picking up after your dog is one of the many responsibilities that comes with dog ownership. Not doing so will attract a coyote to your pet as potential prey as will garbage. Littering is not cool to do regardless. If you live in the suburbs- keep an eye on your dog when he’s outside- especially during late February and March as those are the mating months.

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If coyotes sightings are common in your area, get a tall fence and make sure it’s no shorter than 7 feet and no lower under the grounds surface than 12 inches. A coyote can hurdle a 5 foot fence with no effort and a 7 foot fence with minimal effort. Having a fence at least 12 inches below the surface will also prevent a coyote from digging under it.


If you see a coyote report it to animal rescue control units. (coyotes only- don’t ever report a domesticated dog), call your friends or neighbors and share on social media.


Wide open areas are where coyotes are most often seen and they can run much faster than your dog to chase it. Keeping your dog on a leash will ensure he doesn’t run over to the coyote to make a new friend.

If you are in a city park, you should always keep your dog on a leash anyway.


Pet stores will often sell a legal form of pepper spray that can be used for this type of purpose. Unfortunately, your dog may suffer a little bit from it as well, but weigh the odds. The coyote attack is permanent, the pepper spray is not.


The loud noise of a siren or boat horn will not only scare the coyote, but it will get the attention of others to come to your rescue if they are around.


When you know you will be going through poorly lit areas. An industrial flashlight (like the ones police use) with you. The brighter and stronger the better. Do not point the light in the direction in front of you only as the brightness will naturally focus your eyes on the lit area alone. Instead, move the flashlight in a side to side motion and behind you from time to time.

You can also use it as a weapon should you or your pet be attacked.

How to fight a coyote?

When the rubber meets the road- you’re going to need to fight it. Whether he runs at you or creeps up to grit his teeth at you. Once he is within 4 feet of range- you can open your jacket really wide while making loud and boisterous noises, but he will just think your crazy. He has already made up his mind to attack- so kick it in the side of the head first. Then jab it’s eyes out, then stomp it on the head until you knock him out.

If the coyote goes after your dog. Run behind it (the coyote) and raise its back legs. He will more than likely look behind to see what’s happening. Your dog will then have a split second to run, but you are still going to need to fight the coyote.

Can i shoot a coyote if it attacks my dog?

The legality of shooting a coyote to protect your pet varies depending on jurisdiction, local laws, and wildlife regulations. In some places, it may be legal to kill a coyote if you can prove it posed an immediate threat to you or your pet. In others, lethal action against wildlife may only be permissible under very specific circumstances or by authorized personnel. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with local and state laws about wildlife management and self-defense before taking such a drastic measure.

Additionally, shooting a coyote poses risks beyond legality, including the potential for injuring your own pet in the process or causing harm to people nearby. Before resorting to lethal force, consider preventive measures and non-lethal deterrents as your first line of defense.

Coyote attacking cat:

Many people worry about their dogs when it comes to coyotes, but cats are equally at risk. Coyotes see smaller animals like cats as potential food sources. If you’re a cat owner and you live in an area where coyotes have been spotted, it’s advisable to keep your feline friends indoors, especially during dusk and dawn when coyotes are most active. While dogs have a better chance of defending themselves, cats are less likely to survive a coyote encounter due to their smaller size and lack of defensive skills like barking.

If you absolutely must allow your cat outside, consider a “catio”—an enclosed outdoor space that allows cats to enjoy the outdoors while being protected from potential predators like coyotes.

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