Coyote attacks on dogs and cats have become quite common in urban areas around the Denver area. If we were to average the number of cases we have seen in our Veterinary ER over a year we estimate that we see one coyote attacked dog or cat per week. Most of the cases we see are dogs with the unfortunate reality that cats are often taken by the coyote with no chance of recovery.
Injuries can range from minor abrasions and a couple puncture wounds to very serious lacerations and open chest cavity wounds depending on the severity of the attack. Fortunately, we have been fortunate and better than 90% of the cases have recovered from their injuries.
As winter wears on and breeding season starts the coyotes will be looking for food and may become more aggressive. There are precautions you can take to keep your animals safe if you know of coyote citings in your neighborhood.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife has the following recommendations on their website:
- Keep pets on a leash when walking.
- Never allow your pets to "play" with a coyote.
- Pick up small pets if confronted by a coyote.
- Do what you can to discourage a coyote's approach - yell, stomp your feet, throw small rocks or sticks at it.
- Always supervise your pet when outside, especially at dawn and dusk.
- Never leave cats or dogs outside after dark.
- Don't leave food or water outside for pets.
- If you must leave your pet outside, secure it in a fully enclosed kennel.
- Keep your pets up to date on vaccinations.
The moral of the story...living with wildlife requires a bit of precaution.