Q: I'm concerned about coyotes; the problem is worse than ever around here. I'm especially worried about my little Bichon Frise, who has no way to defend herself. Recently, there was a coyote attack nearby on a dog who didn't survive. I don't want this to happen to my dog. Any advice? -- C.G., Schaumburg, IL
Q: Coyotes seem to be everywhere these days, even encroaching on urban areas. Do you have any tips to keep pets safe? -- B.D., San Diego, CA
A: When there are coyote sightings where you live, keep cats indoors and don't allow dogs (or cats) in the yard without adult supervision. While people are generally safe from coyotes, don't allow young children in the yard without adult supervision--and never infants, even for a second.
You can protect your yard from coyotes. Some coyote-proof fences are about 8 feet tall and made of a material coyotes can't climb, or at least 6-feet tall with a protective device on top, such as a coyote roller that pushes off any coyotes that try to scramble over. Adding PVC pipe or chicken wire to the top of your existing fence can prevent coyotes from getting the foothold they need to make it over. To prevent coyotes from digging under a fence, make sure it extends at least 12-inches underground.
Coyotes won't be as motivated to enter our yards if we refuse to feed them (which well meaning people may do, but habituates coyotes to people), and block their access to garbage. Tight-fitting, coyote-proof lids are available for trash cans.
Wolf urine can deter coyotes. Just spray the substance on the fencing around your yard.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, hazing may be the best deterrent.
Hollering at coyotes, throwing sticks in their direction and even chasing them screaming, "Go away!" can do the trick.
Most often, coyotes are solo hunters or travel with a mate, but sometimes they work in family groups, which can be intimidating. If you're concerned about hiking with your dog, travel in a group of your own -- friends with dogs.
We’re quick to criticize others for not co-existing with wildlife, such as African farmers who may contend with lions, hyena, leopards and herds of elephants, who could even trample a home. By comparison, coyotes are pretty meager threats.
The problem has been worsening for years, and human settlements encroach on wild areas and simultaneously over the past decades or more coyotes have mastered co-existing near people (even in crowded urban areas, like Chicago), snatching dinner from trash.
Weather may play a role, as this year's drought in the southwest and west has made finding food far more challenging.
Bottom line, coyotes are merely trying to survive and feed their young. Most attacks could and should be prevented by taking appropriate precautions.
©Steve Dale PetWorld, LLC; Tribune Content Agency
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