Foxes have been a part of country living for hundreds of years; however, these days, foxes are even learning how to live in urban areas! Have you ever seen a fox in your area or in your backyard? If so, then you’ve seen a sight that’s becoming more common!
The reason foxes have become more urban is the loss of wild habitat and the fact that urban life makes it easier to find food. There’s plenty in the garbage a fox will eat, along with urban-dwelling mice, rats, birds, and more! But what about pets? Will a fox attack or eat a dog?
That’s the question we’ll take a look at in this article, along with some other great information about foxes! Let’s get started!
Dogs & Foxes are Related But Different
Did you know that dogs, foxes, and wolves are related? It’s true! They’re all part of the Canidae family. While they’re part of the same family, foxes and dogs are quite different from one another.
Dogs are part of the Canis part of the family, while foxes are part of the Vulpes part of the Canidae family. It’s not possible for a dog and fox to breed, for instance. The reason is that dogs and foxes have quite different genetics, which doesn’t match up with one another.
Foxes also live about 2-4 years, whereas most dogs live up to 10-13 years or more. In addition, foxes are difficult to train because they’re super intelligent. They have to be wily in order to survive. What’s more, foxes are a lot shyer than dogs.
Foxes are usually small; red foxes (the most common type of fox) are usually about 30 lbs, while other types of foxes are smaller.
It is possible for foxes to be domesticated; however, they will remain shy around visitors and strangers. And they can be more challenging to potty train and more.
So, while foxes and dogs come from the same family, they are very different animals.
Will a Fox Attack and Eat a Dog?
Foxes are omnivores, which means they eat both plant and animal matter; however, their diet usually co consists of animals they’ve hunted. Because foxes are relatively small, they usually go after smaller prey, including mice, wild hamsters (not pet hamsters!), squirrels, rabbits, fish, birds, reptiles, and insects.
Because foxes are small, they usually don’t want to get involved with a dog. Medium and large dogs will be way too much for a fox to deal with. However, if a fox comes across a dog or puppy that’s smaller than itself, then there’s a chance the fox may prey on the smaller canine.
Miniature dogs, such as Chihuahuas, teacup varieties (such as teacup Poodles), and more could fall prey to foxes. For this reason, it’s best never to leave your small dog or puppy unsupervised out in the yard.
Will a Fox Attack, a Dog on a Leash?
There don’t seem to be reports of foxes attacking dogs on the leash. Keep in mind that foxes try to avoid dogs, if possible. They’re even warier of humans.
For these reasons, it’s not very likely that you need to worry about a fox attacking your dog on the leash.
When Would a Fox Attack a Dog?
While it’s rare that a fox would attack a dog, there are some instances when it could be possible. A fox might attack a dog in these situations:
The fox is starving: each day, a fox hunts in the early part of the day and just after dusk. If he doesn’t find food, he will, of course, be hungry. If a fox were to happen upon a very small dog when hungry, then it’s possible the fox might attack the dog and eat it. This is why, if you live where there are foxes, it’s never a good idea to let your dog or puppy go outside alone.
The fox feels cornered or threatened: it’s possible a fox might attack a dog if it felt threatened or cornered. It’s possible your dog could find the fox while the fox wasn’t paying attention. What a shock for the fox! In this situation, it is possible the fox would attack the dog because it feared for its life.
A fox is protecting her young: another possible scenario is if your dog came upon a fox’s den and the fox had young. It’s quite possible for a fox to build her den near your home, such as under a deck, shed, or porch. So, the chances of your dog finding her den and young could be pretty high. A female fox, called a vixen, will stay with the puppies while the male goes off to hunt. So, if your dog finds the den, you can expect the vixen will attack your dog. She’s just trying to protect her pups from a threat.
A fox may be rabid: foxes can carry rabies, and it’s possible an infected fox could attack your dog. The disease would then pass from the fox to your dog. However, this is not a common problem. It’s rare for this type of scenario to happen, though it is possible.
Would a Fox Eat a Dog?
This question we’ve already answered—yes, it is possible that a fox would eat a dog. However, foxes will not try to prey on dogs that are their size or larger. Only small dogs are at risk of being prey for foxes.
Are Foxes Dangerous to Dogs and Humans?
Foxes can be dangerous to dogs and humans in other ways, yes:
- Foxes may carry roundworms; if your dog eats a foxes poop, then he could be infected with the worms.
- A fox’s bite could become infected if a fox happened to bite your fur baby.
- Fox urine can carry a disease called Weil’s disease. If your dog drinks water contaminated with fox urine, he could become infected.
- Fox poop can also carry salmonella and listeria; if your dog eats the poop, he can get sick with these infections.
As you can see, foxes can be dangerous for some very small dogs. Dogs smaller than a fox could become prey in the right circumstances. Even larger dogs, who eat fox poop or drink water infected by foxes, could even become sick.
The best way to keep your dog safe near foxes is to always monitor your dog when he’s in the yard. Better yet, if you know foxes are nearby or on the property, then go out with your dog on the leash. Keep him from eating or drinking anything while he’s outside. What’s more, be sure your dog has had his rabies shot. And be sure to keep all dog food and treats out of your yard. Never leave food or water bowls outside.
Keep an eye on your dog, and he should be just fine outside in the yard, even if foxes are nearby!