Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital has seen an increased frequency of coyote attacks within the last couple months. These attacks have been mostly towards small dogs such as Chihuahuas, Pomeranians or Dachshunds; however we’ve seen cat attacks as well. The majority of the attacks we have seen have been severe, and occasionally deadly. In an attempt to protect your little ones we would like to help you understand coyotes better so that you can make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.
Coyotes are more cunning than you may think. There have been reports of them leaping tall fences or digging 2-3 feet underneath a fence in order to reach small dogs on the other side. If you do put up a fence, be sure to make it a minimum of 6 feet high and have it buried deep in the ground to prevent access. Coyotes generally hunt between dusk and dawn, so if there is any way to keep your pets inside during that time they will be the safest. When Fifi has to go potty in the middle of the night, please walk her on a short leash with you in a lighted area away from trash cans. In fact, keeping your pets on a leash is imperative, as most attacks occur as the pet is going out for a quick potty break in the back yard off- leash. This is prime hunting ground for a coyote, and a deadly one for Fifi. Ideally cats should be kept indoors, or at least brought inside for the night. Keep in mind, coyotes are GENERALLY hunting between dusk and dawn, and they GENERALLY hunt small animals, but if they are desperate, coyotes will hunt during the day and they may go after larger pets as well. Please be safe.
Danielle Sawyer, DVM
Emergency and Critical Care