Dog with stitches in his neck

My Dog’s Close Call with a Coyote

Have you ever had a close call with your dog? Something happens and you think after, that could have been really bad? I’m focusing today on what could have been bad, but turned out okay. I know things sometimes go the other way.

We had a close call with Baxter a few weeks ago. Everything was normal, and then all of a sudden it wasn’t.

We had been out for a walk on our property, and he had ventured into the woods. I continued back to the house, expecting that he would come running up the trail behind me—his normal routine. But he didn’t appear.

I didn’t worry too much, assuming he had found a particularly good scent and would be back soon. We had been at the house for awhile when he finally showed up. My husband let him in and knew right away something was wrong.

Bax was hobbling and seemed very stiff. He had a spot of blood on his forehead, as though he’d run into a twig or fence.

Puncture wound on a dog's forehead

My dog’s injuries

As soon as I took a closer look, I saw that the problem was bigger than we thought. He had two cuts on his neck, one of which was about the size of a silver dollar. He wasn’t bleeding very badly, but the cuts were sore, and he didn’t want me to examine them too closely.

Cuts on a dog's neck

Running into a fence was still a possibility, but it looked more like he’d met up with someone who hadn’t been very friendly. The most likely scenario given where we live was a coyote.

I called our vet, but it was a holiday, so the office was closed. I called my friend who’s a vet tech at our clinic. I described Bax’s injuries and asked her advice. She thought since he wasn’t bleeding badly and didn’t seem to be in extreme pain, we would be okay to wait until the next day when the clinic was open.

We kept an eye on Bax through the day. He continued to be stiff but didn’t seem to be distressed.

Baxter napping on the couch

A trip to the vet

First thing the next morning, we went to the vet. After checking him over, including shaving back some of his hair to better examine the wounds, the vet advised that Baxter should have stitches. They fit him in for surgery that afternoon.

There was only one wound that ended up needing to be stitched. But Baxter got a close examination, an additional haircut, an update on vaccinations and some antibiotics and painkillers.

Dog with stitches in his neck

Back at home, he quickly went back to normal. In fact, on walks he kept trying to return to the woods, apparently looking for a rematch.

We’re keeping him on leash and are making good use of the 30-foot training leash we received from Mighty Paw. It gives him the ability to move fairly freely, but assures us that he won’t be able to choose his own adventure.

Baxter looking into the woods

We’re obviously incredibly relieved that he wasn’t more badly hurt. If he’d run into a pack of coyotes instead of just one (we assume) the outcome would have been very different.

We’re thankful for a great team at our vet who were very gentle, generous and skilled in taking care of him. Most of all, we appreciate having our furry dude at home with us, healthy and safe.

Have you ever had a close call with your dog? Has your dog ever been injured in a fight? (Good news stories preferred, please.)

Julia Thomson is a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating. She and her family live on a 129-acre farm in Ontario, Canada. Follow Julia on Instagram here.

27 thoughts on “My Dog’s Close Call with a Coyote”

  1. When our Golden Retriever was only 4 months old, we went for a hike in the woods behind our house. A coyote was spotted keeping up with us, about 15 feet away in the trees, but staying level with us the whole way. We threw sticks, stones, yelled and carried on…all to no avail. That Coyote was not leaving us. He never came closer but was still a cause of nerves on our part. Did our little dog look like a succulent snack to him??

    1. I’ve had a similar experience a few years ago (before this latest incident), and it was really disconcerting. I don’t know whether it’s predatory or curiosity or a combination of the two. Glad your hike worked out okay. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Anthony Montoya

        I live inside Dallas city limits but I live on 10 acres. My dogs have had fights with coyotes on 2 different occasions inside my property. Both were in the morning time. I hate to see animals fight but this is the main reason I keep 4-6 dogs at all times.

    2. Snack. We had an 80# GSD and two were following us out in the forest preserve once in that same manner. One following behind and one off to the side. They kept getting closer as we walked toward the road to get home.Like the were converging. They followed us part way down the road but stayed in the tall grasses.
      Our dog was a previous stray and seemed to know all about coyotes and was practically dragging me home.

      1. I agree with your assessment of your experience. I think there’s a big difference between one coyote and multiple. It’s interesting to me how some animals like your dog (or our barn cat) develop their instincts and know how to avoid danger. Baxter does not have that inclination yet.

    3. We run into coyotes on a regular basis and have never had a problem. But our dogs are bigger. A little dog could look that way to a coyote.
      Both our dogs always telegraph when a coyote, mountain lion, or bear is in the area. We run into a fair amount of bears especially spring and summer.

      1. That’s some serious wildlife. It sounds like your dogs are pretty used to it too. I think coyotes are a novelty to Bax. He smells them (and we all hear them at night), but sightings are pretty rare–unlike your walks.

  2. Lindsay Stordahl

    I don’t have a lot of experience with coyotes (which is OK with me!). We would see them in San Diego County and they were always skittish enough of us, thankfully. They would quickly dart away if we spotted one or two on the trail. We didn’t have our dog off leash there, and he never seemed to noticed the coyotes.

    1. I think area influences their behaviour a lot. The coyotes around our farm are usually quite skittish and seem to still be pretty “wild”. Our parents don’t live far from us, but they’re in much more populated areas and there the coyotes are much more bold.

    2. Malley Heinlein

      We have coyotes living across the street from us and they frequently show up in the trail cameras we have around our yard. They scream and cry out several nights a week. One evening at dusk, I saw several of them running a hundred yards away. They were almost floating, they were so fast, and were totally silent. I never let my dogs outside alone without the door open, day or night, and me a few feet away from it. We walk our dogs three times a day on long leads. At night the coyotes howl outside our windows and my dogs bark to alert us.
      If I lived on 129 acres I would never allow my dogs to roam unaccompanied. Our cat is trained to come in every night for her food.

      1. Your precautions are smart. We hear coyotes often at night at our place too. At night, we always go out with him and always on leash (even before this recent close call). Fortunately our barn cat is really savvy and knows to stay safe in the barn.

  3. Happy ending, I promise! A few years back, a friend and I were walking with her Boxer, Carly, on an off-leash, 3 mile loop on a ranch near Boulder, CO. We were busy chatting as the Boxer lagged behind, sniffing the trail and watching the prairie dogs in the distance, when suddenly we stopped to make sure she was right behind us. We both started screaming for Carly when we realized she was following a coyote off the trail to a distant hillside. Thankfully, Carly turned and came running back to us. We found out later that coyotes will often “lure” domestic dogs to a waiting pack of coyotes where the dog is outnumbered.

    Now that I have a Golden Retriever and walk and hike with him off-leash in the plains and foothills of Colorado, I always remember to watch out for Coyotes, Bobcats and Mountain Lions. My GR is never allowed out on our mountain property alone, as we have spotted all three predators many times and they all have their ways of taking down a 90 pound dog if they feel like it. Coyotes by luring, Mountain Lions obviously have no problem since they take 150 – 400 pound Elk and Deer, and Bobcats, though small, actually can take down a Mule Deer!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I’m so glad your dogs have stayed safe! For us (in Montana), we are always thinking of black and brown bears and mountain lions. My dog Remy wears a bear bell and I carry bear spray.

  4. Margaret White

    One early morning in rural Nebraska, I let my 3 dogs outside. It was still dark outside. My Yorkie, Katie, was grabbed by a coyote, who tried to flee with her. It happened not 10 feet from the house.My Australian Shepherd caught up with the coyote, who dropped Katie. There was a big fight and the coyote got away. My Aussie, Sam was unscathed. Katie had several punctures from the coyote bite. I was very glad that I had her get shots against leptospirosis, which coyotes carry. She never stepped more than 2 feet from Sam the next time we went out, and I would search the yard next to the house with a flashlight before opening the door

  5. Heather Hannon

    My brother’s puppy squeezed through their gate to play with a dog it saw, however it was on the greenbelt next to their house and it was a coyote instead of a dog. The other dog thats older was barking so much that my sister in law went to investigate and saw the puppy on other side of gate and when she went to get her she was staring at a coyote that was looking at her and the puppy.
    Thankfully no harm done. She got the puppy back and it wore a ring around its neck to make it impossible to get through the gate.

  6. I lived in Texas for 5 years and there were rabid coyotes and skunks all over the property! I never let my dog out of sight. So many friends dogs were attacked by them. It is a long and painful recovery for any animal bit. You really have to check in your area how bad things are before letting your animals loose to the consequences!

    1. Yikes. Rabies is such a scare. Raccoons are the big carrier in our area. Fortunately they’re pretty rare at the farm, although we have encountered a few that are obviously rabid. You’re right that it’s so important to be aware of the animals and issues in your area. Thanks for your input.

  7. My goodness, how scary! There is a lot of wild life where we live too. For instance, we’ve had a bear walk up our driveway and stroll through the yard twice. I do sometimes worry about our springer having a bad encounter, especially when we let her out a night. Thankfully, it’s never happened.

    I’m so glad Baxter’s injuries weren’t any worse. And thank goodness it was a lone coyote. Thanks for sharing about your experience, Julia. Glad things turned out okay.

    1. A bear! Holy moly. I’m glad you’ve never had a close call. That’s a good news story. We never know who’s around our place, but we do know there won’t be a bear. Because of this, when we go out in the dark it’s always been our habit to have Bax on leash, even before this happened.

  8. Sandy Weinstein

    i dont let my girls roam free. they would take off. i live on 11 + acres and have all sorts of wildlife. coyotes are one. i can sometimes hear them at nite. i was out looking for my oldest dog a few yrs ago. she normally did not go far, but she did this time. it was 430pm, i did not find her til 12m. she was over a mile away. during my searches, i came face to face with a coyote, abt 3 ft away. we were staring at one another. i think he was as startled as i was. i know they hang out on my property in the very back. i have seen deer and turkey taken down by them on my property. it is very scary.

    1. That sounds like a very anxious time. I’m glad that you were able to find her safely. That would be really disconcerting to come across one so close. I’m glad everything worked out for you, your dog and the coyote.

  9. Sandy Weinstein

    i am so glad that Baxter is okay. you were very lucky. i guess i would have taken my girls to an er. i have a few in my area but prefer to see my reg vet. however there is one er i would go to if necessary. i hope Baxter makes a quick recovery.

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