What tactics can I use to keep coyotes at bay and keep my dog from becoming prey?

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You must be able to identify a coyote. Coyotes weigh 15 to 30 pounds, are scrawny and have triangular ears. They have long bushy tails with a black tip and resemble a cross between a fox and a German shepherd and sometimes a medium-sized collie.

Unlike other wildlife, coyotes are not permanently displaced when their environment becomes developed, but simply adjust to their new habitat. That means they can live comfortably in the city or country. In fact, many have heard the story about the coyote that walked into a Chicago fast food restaurant.

Coyotes become a risk when they come to see the humans’ homes, pets and yards as food sources and safe havens. They will easily kill a cat or dog to eat.

Keep all food out of reach. Remove bird feeders and don’t ever try to leave food and water out for them. Make sure you feed your pets inside and use garbage cans with tight-fitting lids so the coyote can’t open it.

It’s also important to remember that coyotes may be infected with rabies and distemper, so it’s imperative to keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date.

The best thing is to keep your dog protected. Never leave her outside alone. In addition here are a few things you can do to make your yard less appealing to coyotes:

• Collect human or dog hair from a local salon and grooming place and sprinkle it around the perimeter of your yard, underneath edible plants and on flowers. The smell of the hair will deter most small mammals like deer, rabbits, raccoons and coyotes, which fear humans and domestic dogs. You may need to reapply hair every few days, and after rainfall or heavy winds.
• Shower human or dog urine around your yard. Like the hair, you may need to reapply after rainfall.
• Use kitchen ingredients as animal repellents. These include: red pepper powder, cayenne pepper, vegetable oil, and liquid dish soap. Add them to water (a quart or gallon, depending how much is needed). Spray the mixture onto flowers, trash cans, edible plants and the perimeter of your yard. This bad-tasting mixture deters animals but should not harm plants. You must reapply after it rains.

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