Foxes have sometimes been known to attack cats and dogs. This is extremely rare, though, as foxes are very shy, but there is certainly a risk in some situations.
How Often Do Foxes Attack Cats And Dogs?
There are plenty of images and stories online telling of fox attacks. Whether it was a cat being carried away by a fox or a dog being attacked in their own garden – they do exist. And if the cat or dog is young, small, or unwell – they may not survive the encounter. Foxes are, after all, a predator of other smaller or more-vulnerable mammals.
Attacks on dogs and cats are clearly very rare though – as there are literally foxes absolutely everywhere. Most houses have a fox run through them at least once a night – even in cities. Foxes by nature are very shy and will always move on if they spot signs of human activity or hear domestic dogs. Often just shouting at them or throwing something in their general direction is enough to spook them away.
However – a hungry fox – especially one with a litter of cubs to raise – may be running out of normal food supplies so are having to extend its options. A cat or a dog is normally too much trouble to catch and eat – especially a cat – so they aren’t usually on the menu. However, if you are desperate, and you stumble across a small dog, just sitting there one night while you are out hunting – it may become an option.
Foxes don’t attack cats and dogs for the sake of it – it is out of necessity. Either for food or for defense.
Can You Scare Foxes From Your Yard?
Of course, there are always things you can do to scare off the foxes make your garden less attractive in the first place – and help make your pets safer if you feel you are in a high-risk area. If protecting your pets is the most important consideration then these options may help:
- Lights & Noises – Foxes are very wary – so having movement-triggered lights or noises is usually very effective at helping them choose a different garden to walk through.
- Water – Foxes can easily be scared off with jets of water, so whether these are movement-triggered too – or hand-held – they will be just as effective.
- Smells – Anything used to deter dogs from your yard will also work for most foxes – so potent sprays for fences and porches etc can have them heading in the other direction.
- Electricity – An electric fence is a more serious option but can be extremely effective. Foxes often set up new routes if their normal paths are blocked – and learn real easy where to avoid.
- Fencing – Foxes can jump and dig – so any fencing needs to be tall and also set underground. Ideally, it needs an outward-facing L-bend bottom to prevent foxes digging in from the outside.
Other things you can do to deter foxes from your yard or property is to not attract them in either.
Go out of your way to protect your food stores and garbage in secure metal bins. Don’t leave windows open where food or attractive smells can waft out overnight or during the day. Remember that when regular food is on offer in a location – urban foxes will learn to come out during the day to take advantage.
Leaving pet food out on porches, feeding raccoons, or hedgehogs out in the open with meat-based foods will always attract foxes in the area too.
You have to go one way or the other. Either avoid any type of large wildlife coming to your property – or let in the animals – but make sure your small dogs or cats are never outside alone unattended. Option two also helps avoid all sorts of other issues that could befall your pet if left alone outdoors, including theft.
Do Foxes Have Rabies?
As with all wild mammals – there is a chance that a fox in your yard has rabies. Luckily, the form of this virus that attacks foxes isn’t usually transmissible to humans – and with early treatment – rabies is 100% avoidable. However, there is more risk to your pets if they are outside during the evenings.
Vaccination for rabies in high risk areas is always advised for family pets – and worth every penny. Once symptoms start with rabies, there is no treatment at all so prevention is your best route.