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Will Raccoons Attack Dogs?

Will Raccoons Attack Dogs

Raccoons are intelligent, adaptable creatures that have increasingly found their way into urban and suburban environments. As their habitats overlap more with those of humans, pet owners are often concerned about potential encounters between raccoons and their beloved dogs. In this article, we delve deeply into the behavior of raccoons, the risks they pose to dogs, and how to protect your pets from potential raccoon attacks.

Given the rise in raccoon populations in urban areas, understanding their interactions with domestic pets becomes crucial. Raccoons are known for their resourcefulness and boldness, which sometimes leads them to venture close to human dwellings in search of food and shelter. These encounters, although generally harmless, can sometimes escalate, especially if raccoons feel threatened or are protecting their young. As such, it's vital for pet owners to recognize the signs of raccoon presence and take preventative measures to ensure their pets' safety.

Understanding Raccoon Behavior

will raccoons attack dogs

Raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active during the night. They are omnivores, feeding on a variety of foods ranging from fruits and nuts to small animals and garbage. Their intelligence and adaptability make them proficient at finding food and shelter in urban areas, leading to increased interactions with humans and pets.

Do Raccoons Pose a Threat to Dogs?

The likelihood of a raccoon attacking a dog depends on several factors, including the size of the dog, the presence of food, and whether the raccoon feels threatened. Generally, raccoons do not seek out confrontations with dogs. However, they will defend themselves vigorously if they feel cornered or threatened. Here are some scenarios where raccoons might pose a threat:

  • Defensive Aggression: If a raccoon is cornered by a dog, it may resort to aggressive behavior to protect itself. This includes growling, biting, and scratching.
  • Protecting Young: Mother raccoons are highly protective of their kits. If a dog approaches a nest or young raccoons, the mother may attack to defend her offspring.
  • Competing for Food: Raccoons and dogs may come into conflict over food sources. This is especially common in urban areas where both animals may scavenge from the same garbage bins.

Signs of Aggression in Raccoons

Understanding the signs of aggression in raccoons can help prevent dangerous encounters. Common signs include:

  • Growling and Hissing: These are warning sounds indicating that the raccoon feels threatened.
  • Raised Fur: When a raccoon's fur stands on end, it is a sign of agitation and readiness to defend itself.
  • Baring Teeth: This is a clear indication that the raccoon is prepared to bite if necessary.

Preventing Raccoon Attacks on Dogs

are raccoons afraid of dogs

Preventing raccoon attacks on dogs involves a combination of vigilance, preventive measures, and understanding raccoon behavior. Here are some effective strategies:

Secure Your Property

  • Fencing: Install sturdy fencing around your yard to keep raccoons out. Ensure that the fence is at least six feet high and buried a few inches into the ground to prevent raccoons from climbing over or digging under.
  • Garbage Management: Store garbage in raccoon-proof containers and keep them secured to prevent scavenging. Avoid leaving pet food outside, as it can attract raccoons.
  • Remove Attractants: Eliminate potential food sources such as bird feeders, fallen fruit, and accessible compost piles.

Supervise Your Pets

  • Leashed Walks: Always walk your dog on a leash, especially at night when raccoons are most active. This gives you control over your dog and reduces the risk of unexpected encounters.
  • Outdoor Supervision: Supervise your dog when it is outside, particularly during dusk and dawn. If you have a small dog, be extra cautious, as they are more vulnerable to raccoon attacks.

Training and Commands

  • Recall Training: Teach your dog a reliable recall command to bring them back to you if they encounter a raccoon.
  • Avoidance Training: Train your dog to avoid raccoons by reinforcing positive behaviors and using deterrents if necessary.

What to Do If Your Dog Encounters a Raccoon

If your dog does encounter a raccoon, it is crucial to remain calm and act swiftly. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Stay Calm: Panic can escalate the situation. Keep your voice steady and avoid making sudden movements.
  2. Call Your Dog: Use your recall command to bring your dog back to you. If your dog is on a leash, gently pull them away from the raccoon.
  3. Avoid Direct Confrontation: Do not try to intervene physically between your dog and the raccoon. This can put you at risk of injury.
  4. Create Noise: Loud noises can scare the raccoon away. Clap your hands, shout, or use a whistle to startle the raccoon and encourage it to leave.

Health Risks of Raccoon Encounters

are raccoons scared of dogs

Raccoons can carry diseases that pose significant health risks to dogs. These include:

  • Rabies: Raccoons are common carriers of rabies, a fatal viral disease that affects the nervous system. Ensure your dog is vaccinated against rabies.
  • Leptospirosis: This bacterial disease can be transmitted through raccoon urine and can cause severe illness in dogs.
  • Parvovirus: While more commonly associated with dogs, raccoons can carry and transmit parvovirus.

What to Do If Your Dog Is Bitten by a Raccoon

If your dog is bitten by a raccoon, seek veterinary care immediately. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Clean the Wound: Gently clean the wound with warm water and mild soap to reduce the risk of infection.
  2. Contact Your Vet: Inform your veterinarian of the situation. They will likely recommend a rabies booster shot and may prescribe antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections.
  3. Monitor for Symptoms: Watch for signs of illness such as fever, lethargy, or changes in behavior, and report these to your vet.

Myths and Misconceptions About Raccoons and Dogs

There are several myths and misconceptions about raccoons that can lead to unnecessary fear or improper handling of situations. Let’s address some common misunderstandings:

Myth 1: Raccoons Are Aggressive Animals

While raccoons can be aggressive when threatened, they are generally not looking for a fight. Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and are more interested in finding food than engaging in conflicts. They will usually try to avoid confrontations with dogs and humans alike.

Myth 2: Raccoons Will Always Attack Pets

Raccoons do not inherently seek out dogs or other pets to attack. Most encounters are defensive responses to feeling cornered or protecting their young. Understanding this can help pet owners better manage and prevent these interactions.

Myth 3: All Raccoons Carry Rabies

Not all raccoons carry rabies. However, it is a concern because raccoons are known carriers of the disease. It is essential to keep pets vaccinated and to avoid contact with raccoons that appear sick or unusually aggressive.

Natural Deterrents to Keep Raccoons Away

can dogs get distemper from raccoons

Using natural deterrents can be an effective way to keep raccoons out of your yard and away from your pets. Here are some methods:

Ammonia and Vinegar

Raccoons dislike the smell of ammonia and vinegar. Soak rags in ammonia or vinegar and place them around your yard, especially near garbage cans and entry points. Be cautious and place these out of reach of pets.

Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinklers can startle raccoons and deter them from entering your yard. These devices use a sudden burst of water to scare away intruders.

Bright Lights

Installing bright, motion-activated lights can discourage raccoons, as they prefer to move around in the darkness. Placing these lights near garbage areas and entry points can reduce raccoon activity.

Creating a Raccoon-Proof Environment

To create an environment that is unappealing to raccoons, consider the following steps:

Eliminate Food Sources

  • Secure Compost Bins: Use raccoon-proof compost bins and avoid composting meat or dairy products, which can attract raccoons.
  • Feed Pets Indoors: Feeding your pets indoors reduces the chance of attracting raccoons to leftover food.
  • Clean BBQ Grills: After using outdoor grills, clean them thoroughly to remove food residues that might attract raccoons.

Seal Entry Points

  • Attics and Crawl Spaces: Ensure that attics, crawl spaces, and sheds are properly sealed to prevent raccoons from nesting inside.
  • Chimney Caps: Install chimney caps to prevent raccoons from entering your home through the chimney.

Additional FAQ about Raccoons and Dogs:

Are Raccoons Afraid of Dogs?

Raccoons generally avoid dogs to prevent conflicts. While not necessarily afraid, they prefer to steer clear of them.

Are Raccoons Scared of Dogs?

Raccoons are wary of dogs and often avoid areas where dogs are present. However, they can become accustomed if food is available.

Can Dogs Get Distemper from Raccoons?

Yes, dogs can contract distemper from raccoons through direct contact or contaminated environments. Vaccination is crucial.

Do Raccoons Get Along with Dogs?

Raccoons and dogs usually do not get along. Raccoons see dogs as potential threats and may act defensively if cornered.

Calling Critter Stop: 

If raccoon encounters become frequent or if you find it difficult to manage raccoon activity around your home, it may be time to call a professional wildlife removal service.

We highly recommend Critter Stop for all your raccoon removal needs. Critter Stop is renowned for its humane and effective wildlife removal methods. They have a fantastic reputation, bolstered by numerous positive customer reviews online, thanks to their high-quality work and excellent customer service. Whether it’s raccoons, squirrels, or any other wildlife, Critter Stop can handle it all with professionalism and care. Visit Critter Stop to learn more about their services and schedule a consultation.


Understanding the behavior of raccoons and taking proactive measures can significantly reduce the risk of raccoon attacks on dogs. By securing your property, supervising your pets, and using natural deterrents, you can create a safer environment for your furry friends. Always be vigilant and seek professional help when necessary to handle persistent raccoon issues effectively. Remember, for the best results in raccoon removal and wildlife management, you can always count on Critter Stop.

If you are experiencing issues with raccoons in your home, contact Critter Stop for comprehensive and humane pest control services. 

Their expertise and commitment to quality make them the best choice for residential pest control in North Texas.

Contact us at (214) 234-2616 to get a free estimate of our services. 

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Lee Gorman
Lee Gorman
13:50 21 Nov 22
I’d give a 10 star review if I could! We had a great experience with Critter Stop. Everyone I dealt was friendly, professional, and reassuring. Phillip was very helpful and knowledgeable about the work he was doing. He walked me around the entire house to make sure I saw and understood the services he provided. He was also really nice and answered all my questions — he is exactly the type of person that should be interacting with customers.I love the fact that they will come back for up to 1 year after installation if any problems occur — this shows me they stand behind their work.The owner was great too, he personally came to my house and walked me through their offering. I recommend critter stop to anyone and everyone!
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Critter Stop is a fantastic business! Everyone involved is extremely professional and very easy to communicate with. Chisam, the owner, did a great job of explaining the process to get the squirrels out of my attic during the initial free estimate. The exclusion crew who did all of the initial work was fabulous. The crew consisted of Phillip, Nick and Corey who arrived promptly when they said they would. They are happy, positive employees. Everyone is very polite and patient in explaining their work and answering questions. They came back several times to check the traps and finish it off with the fogging. Lester was very good about following up to schedule each trap check with me, and the office staff who took care of the billing was very efficient. Critter Stop is a well run company with honest, trustworthy employees! Thank you to all of you who worked hard to make my attic critter free and for the peace of mind that you guarantee your work. Great to know I can call them if for some reason a squirrel figures out a way to get back in!
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