Do pets get attacked by coyotes in Chicago?

  • Pets are attacked by coyotes almost every week
  • Coyotes are secretive, which is why they usually go unnoticed
  • They usually hunt small animals such as rabbits, squirrels, cats, small dogs, and sometimes dogs of varying sizes
  • Don’t leave your pet alone outside and don’t leave food outside
  • If encountering a coyote, don’t turn your back. Instead make noises or yell at them
  • Fences can provide effective protection

Pets Being Attacked by Coyotes in Chicago

There has been an increase in coyote attacks on pets in the Chicago area, so it’s important to take extra precautions to keep your pet safe. These include not leaving your pet alone at night, not leaving food out, and having fencing around your property.

Listen to the podcast on iTunes or read the transcription below:

Steve: “Coyotes preying on pets. With an “Eye on Pets,” I’m Steve Grzanich with veterinarian, Dr. Julia Georgesen. This is a big one because it’s in the news almost every week in the Chicago area, especially in the suburbs, and that is pets being attacked by coyotes.”

Dr. Georgesen: “And they’re everywhere. There was a coyote in Chipotle here downtown. There was one at Wrigley Field. They’ve definitely been spotted multiple times at Lincoln Park. Coyotes usually—you know the reason we don’t always see them all the time is just because they’re secretive, and they’ll live close to us, but they just won’t be noticed. They will normally hunt small animals, such as rabbits, squirrels, but they can attack and kill cats and small dogs. Usually, smaller pets, but you hear in the news about all size of dogs getting attacked.”

Steve: “The #1 warning to pet owners is what?”

Dr. Georgesen: “To not leave your pet alone outside, especially at night, or a lot of times at dawn or dusk. Also, a lot of times, they’ll come out a lot more during breeding season, which is usually January to March. I also would never suggest leaving your pet’s food and water outside. Coyotes will usually like to come to a feeding place. A lot of people will feed outside cats, and if you are going to do that, do it during the day and at a certain amount of time, and elevate the food. If you do encounter a coyote, you should never throw food at it, and don’t turn your back or run away. You want to yell or make a loud noise or clap or stomp. Make eye contact, and make yourself look bigger. They get scared easily, and they’re not going to come after you, but you certainly don’t want to run from one.”

Steve: “Are there other sorts of safety precautions we can take if we have to have our pet outside?”

Dr. Georgesen: “I would recommend, again, to not put food or water outside, and also, keep your trash in good, solid containers with tight-fitting lids.”

Steve: “Fencing is an important part, too, and you want to have general specifications for your fence, right?”

Dr. Georgesen: “Yes. They say they should usually be at least six feet high and at least six inches deep. That way, coyotes won’t jump into your back yard.”

Steve: “In a situation where we do have an interaction with a cat or dog and a coyote—if there is an attack—what should pet parents know?”

Dr. Georgesen: “I would try to scare away the coyote. I would yell and make a lot of noise and clap and whistle. I would not recommend cornering the coyote, but I think if you try to scare it off, that will usually work the best, and then you would get your pet immediately to the veterinarian. I think the big thing to remember is that they’re not going to be aggressive, but if given that opportunity, and there’s a small animal—a small dog or cat outside—they’re going to take that opportunity.”

Steve: “Is there a happy medium between these two animal populations? Can the two live in harmony?”

Dr. Georgesen: “I think that they can co-exist. I feel bad that the coyotes have a lot less area now. Obviously, they’re coming here because they’re hungry, and that concerns me because I think that’s when you are going to have more issues with pets being attacked.”

Steve: “With an “Eye on Pets,” I’m Steve Grzanich with Dr. Julia Georgesen. Remember, you can find past segments online at cbschicago.com/audio, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at “Eye on Pets” on News Radio 780 at 105.9 FM.”