Wild Fox -vs- Fluffy Dog
May 5, 2006 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Do wild foxes normally attack dogs?

My mother has a little white fluffy dog (Coton De Tulear) and last week she moved to a 22 acre farm that has lots of foxes. The dog has been seen "running with the foxes" as the foxes lead it away from their den and bark at it - the dog thinks they are playmates. How much danger is the dog in?
posted by stbalbach to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
Foxes are rumored to kill cats, but I don't think it's true. In rural area of the US, whenever a cat disappears it's customary to blame a fox (or, in Maine, a fisher for some reason) when the real cuplrit is probably either a car, a sociopath or a dog. But I have heard from two wildlife workers on two separate occasions that this is probably untrue and foxes don't kill anything heavier than rabbits.

Your mum's dog is probably the same size as a large cat. So a fox won't kill it. But give it flea/tick chemicals and make sure its shots are up-to-date.

Now lets sit back and wait for someone to claim that a fox killed their neighbor's pony and/or 100% of foxes are mad with rabies.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:25 AM on May 5, 2006

On Wednesday a farm person told me that foxes never attack her outdoor cats but cats are considerably more wily than dogs.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:35 AM on May 5, 2006

Unless they get in some sort of territorial fight, I've never heard of a fox killing any other predator.

Chickens, rabbits, mice - yes.

Dogs - no.

See if you can get pictures, I'd bet they'd be pretty nifty.
posted by unixrat at 8:40 AM on May 5, 2006

Foxes aren't much bigger than dogs and are pretty shy as a rule. I've never heard of a cat or dog loss due to foxes.

Coyotes, on the other hand, have no problem eating cats or dogs.
posted by bonehead at 8:45 AM on May 5, 2006

ditto the territorial fight instance, and if the foxes have pups - they could be very unpredictable. maybe not kill a dog, but i would think they could do some damage if they felt threatened, especially if there are two or more.

whatever the case, i am pretty sure i wouldn't encourage the behavior. they are wild, your moms dog is not. they live by wild animal rules, your moms dog does not. i don't mean keep her inside at all costs, but maybe keep her away from their den.
posted by domino at 8:52 AM on May 5, 2006

Foxes aren't much bigger than dogs and are pretty shy as a rule.

Generally smaller actually. A Red Fox, for example... a large one, would only be about 15 lbs. or so, usually less.
posted by Witty at 9:07 AM on May 5, 2006

doctor_negative, thank you for that. That's the best thing that I've ever seen on Flickr.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:32 AM on May 5, 2006

It also worth bearing in mind that foxes can be carriers of diseases which can affect dogs - such as mange and rabies. Probably worth keeping the dog away from them on that basis alone. (IANAVet!)
posted by prentiz at 9:38 AM on May 5, 2006

Thanks for the flickr link, doctor_negative. Here's a fox on a trampoline (Google video).
posted by deborah at 11:23 AM on May 5, 2006

My mom's dog got mange from a wild fox. Its a huge pain, takes years to go away, and can kill your pet. I would separate the dog and the fox.
posted by zia at 12:39 PM on May 5, 2006

I second witty on his comment, A really big fox weighs over 10 pounds although they look much larger. They are really just a big furball. So is your moms dog though. I bet it would take it in a scrap.

I have seen a few fox with mange, pretty nasty, one had just hair on the bottom 4 inches of its tail. I would imagine that they have some healthy fleas as well.
posted by vidarling at 5:31 PM on May 5, 2006

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