What to Do if You See a Coyote While Walking Your Dog

Walking your dog is not only a great way to provide exercise and mental stimulation for your furry friend, but it’s also an opportunity for you to enjoy the outdoors. However, encountering wildlife, such as coyotes, can sometimes pose a potential threat to both you and your dog. Coyotes are typically cautious around humans, but it’s important to know how to handle such situations to ensure everyone’s safety. Here are some essential tips on what to do if you encounter a coyote while walking your dog.

1. Stay calm: Remaining calm is crucial, as dogs can easily pick up on their owner’s anxiety or fear.

2. Keep your dog close: Ensure your dog is on a leash and by your side. This will prevent it from chasing or engaging with the coyote.

3. Maintain eye contact: Make sure to keep your eyes on the coyote at all times. This will convey to the coyote that you are aware of its presence and can deter it from approaching.

4. Make noise: Yell, clap your hands, or use a whistle to make loud noises. This will startle the coyote and discourage it from coming closer.

5. Back away slowly: Slowly and calmly begin to walk backward, keeping your eyes on the coyote. Avoid turning your back or running, as this may trigger a chase response.

6. Create distance: If the coyote continues to approach, try to put as much distance as possible between you and the animal. Use your body and voice to assert dominance.

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7. Use deterrents: Carry a deterrent such as a whistle, air horn, or even a spray bottle filled with vinegar or a mixture of water and lemon juice. These can be handy in scaring off coyotes if they get too close.

8. Avoid feeding the coyote: Never feed a coyote, as this will encourage them to become reliant on human sources for food.

9. Avoid leaving food out: Ensure that garbage cans are securely sealed and avoid leaving pet food or any other sources of food outside, as these can attract coyotes to your property.

10. Report aggressive behavior: If a coyote exhibits aggressive behavior, such as lunging or growling, report it to your local animal control or wildlife management agency.

11. Educate yourself: Learn more about coyote behavior and habits to better understand how to coexist with them. Local wildlife organizations or your local government may provide educational resources.


1. Are coyotes dangerous to dogs?
Coyotes generally avoid confrontations with humans and their pets. However, it’s important to take precautions as coyotes may perceive dogs as potential threats or prey.

2. Should I let my dog off-leash if I see a coyote?
No, it’s best to keep your dog on a leash when near coyote habitats to maintain control and prevent any potential conflicts.

3. Can I scare a coyote away by throwing something at it?
Throwing objects at a coyote is not recommended, as it may provoke or escalate the situation. Loud noises and assertive actions are generally more effective.

4. What should I do if my dog is approached by a coyote?
Keep your dog close to you and assert your dominance by making loud noises, clapping your hands, and yelling. Back away slowly while maintaining eye contact with the coyote.

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5. Can my small dog be taken by a coyote?
Small dogs can be vulnerable to coyote attacks. Keep them on a short leash, and if you notice a coyote, pick up your small dog if possible.

6. Are coyotes active during the day or only at night?
Coyotes are opportunistic and can be active during both day and night. However, they are more commonly seen during dusk and dawn.

7. What should I do if I see a coyote den?
Keep your distance from the den and avoid approaching it. Coyotes are protective of their young, and getting too close can lead to defensive behavior.

8. Can I let my dog scare away a coyote?
It is not recommended to rely on your dog to scare away a coyote, as it may put your pet at risk. It’s best to follow the steps mentioned earlier to ensure everyone’s safety.

9. Will a fence protect my dog from coyotes?
While a fence can act as a deterrent, coyotes are skilled climbers and diggers. Ensure that your fence is at least six feet high and extends below ground to prevent coyotes from entering your property.

10. How can I prevent coyotes from approaching my neighborhood?
Properly dispose of garbage, secure pet food, and remove potential food sources. Additionally, discourage coyotes by making loud noises or using deterrents if you spot them in your area.

11. What should I do if a coyote attacks my dog?
If a coyote attacks your dog, immediately contact your local animal control or emergency veterinary services for guidance.