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Do Foxes Attack and Eat Dogs? How to Avoid Danger in Your Backyard

Written by: Dean Eby

Last Updated on June 25, 2024 by Dogster Team

red fox walking on wet street

Do Foxes Attack and Eat Dogs? How to Avoid Danger in Your Backyard


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Dr. Ashley Darby

BVSc (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Foxes are rather common creatures, found in both rural settings and more populated areas like towns and even major cities. They’re wily creatures and have a reputation for making messes that they often didn’t actually create, though these scavenging predators can pose a danger to some pets and livestock.

Generally, foxes have no interest in bothering you and will run if encountered. But they are predators and a tasty meal won’t be passed up if it looks like an easy kill. It’s a pretty rare occurrence, but in some situations, foxes can attack and eat dogs. It’s happened before, but it’s such a rarity and so easily avoided that there’s not much cause for concern.


Foxes Are Naturally Fearful of Humans

When you see a fox, they usually turn tail and run quickly. That’s because foxes are naturally fearful of humans. After all, we do hunt and kill them. You might not, but plenty of other people do hunt and trap foxes. Since this is the case, foxes aren’t often going to put themselves in a situation where they have to deal with a person.

fox will a fox attack a dog
Image by: Pixabay

Foxes Aren’t Very Large

Foxes are pretty small creatures overall. Red foxes, the most common and largest type, top out at about 30 pounds. Compared to many dogs, some of which can be over 200 pounds, that’s not a big threat. Of course, there are plenty of smaller dog breeds, and if your dog is small enough, it could be targeted as a meal for a hungry fox.

Why Foxes Might Be in Your Backyard

If you see a fox wandering through your backyard, there’s no reason to panic or worry. More than likely, it’s just passing through on its way to a different hunting spot. It’s also possible that it’s there to scavenge, attracted by the scent of trash or something else left out. Less likely but still possible, the fox might be using an area under your home or porch as a den. If this is the case, you’ll see the fox often and may need to take measures to motivate the fox to leave.

fox in the backyard
Image by: Pixabay

What Dogs Are Most at Danger?

Large dogs are at no risk of a fox attack. If your dog is 50 pounds or heavier, a fox is simply not going to take the risk of tussling with them. No fox is looking at a dog two to five times its size as a meal. Even dogs that are close in size to a fox, say a 30-pound dog, for example, is too much hassle and danger for a fox to consider attacking. But very small dogs, anything under 15 pounds, could be at risk. Tiny breeds, including Pugs, Boston Terriers, Chihuahuas, and any other very small dogs could potentially be attractive to a hungry fox as a meal.

How to Avoid a Fox Attacking Your Dog

As mentioned, if your dog is big, there’s nothing to worry about. If your dog is very small, then the easiest way to avoid a fox attack is not to leave your dog outside unattended. Even if your yard is fenced in, a hungry, wily fox could find a way to get inside. So, only leave your small dogs out while you can supervise them and bring them back inside with you. Or, if you have multiple dogs, leave the bigger ones outside with the smaller ones. Just don’t leave your tiny dog outside without supervision.

fox in the snow
Image Credit: Pixabay

Should You Be Worried About a Fox Attack?

In most cases, there’s no reason to be worried about a fox attacking your dog. Even for small dogs, it’s a rare occurrence. However, you should be aware of the potential danger and take steps to mitigate it. Foxes don’t often attack and eat dogs, but any hungry wild predator could be a danger to any domesticated animal that’s small enough to be a meal!

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If you have a large canine, it’s not going to be attacked by a fox. It’s just too dangerous for a fox to take the risk. But small dogs left unattended could easily become a meal for a hungry fox, even if they’re inside of your fenced-in backyard. Don’t take the risk if your dog is small enough for a fox to kill it. So, dogs under 20 pounds should never be left outside unattended, and even dogs between 20-30 pounds should have supervision if you know foxes are prowling nearby.

Featured Image Credit: Erik Mclean, Unsplash

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