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Will Raccoons Attack Dogs?

Last Updated: 14.07.24


While there are some people who are willingly taking raccoons into their homes to keep as pets, these are, and forever will be wild animals, no matter how cute and adorable they might seem. If you are, in fact, dealing with raccoons causing significant damage around your property, our article on how to keep these predators under control might be useful, so check it out.

Even though raccoons are smart and cunning, they are perfectly capable of viciously attacking larger animals such as dogs, especially if they feel threatened. As you can imagine, such a fight is not one to be encouraged, so if you’re thinking about keeping a raccoon, you might want to take your time and assess whether this is a good idea or not.

With this being said, let’s see what can cause raccoons to attack dogs. These situations happen quite rarely actually, but you shouldn’t rely on this at all, because your dog can get into real danger if it attacks a raccoon.


Why do raccoons attack dogs?

First of all, you should know that a raccoon will never go out of its hiding spot just to actively search for a dog and pick a fight. It’s true that these animals are known to be quite vicious, but they are in fact a lot smarter than to leave their safety area behind and invade a home for the fun of it.

As we’ve said, we’re talking about intelligent animals that can use their paws to unlock fences and enclosed areas, so there’s always another reason driving an attack against a larger animal such as a dog. In fact, there are two main reasons for which a raccoon can become aggressive, and these are the fundamental ones you are probably already thinking about: food and safety.

Self-preservation is the driving force behind pretty much any living thing, so the same goes for these predators. The first reaction a raccoon will most probably have when encountering a dog will be to get away as far as possible. As long as an opportunity to escape is identified, the wild animal will take it, especially if the dog at hand is a rather large one.

However, if the dog is smaller or roughly the same size as the raccoon, the latter might stand its ground, but it all depends on the situation and the factors present. When a raccoon does face a dog it’s usually because it’s already cornered.

Defending the property

Typical such situations appear when the predator tries to get onto the property through a fence. Your dog might see it, and since our canine friends are very territorial animals, he or she will start chasing it away, defending the property.

If in this situation the dog is able to corner the wild animal using a certain section of the backyard, and the latter has nowhere else to go, it will try to defend itself at all costs. This is what nature dictates in such situations, so your dog will become the target in order to create an opportunity to escape.

Another instance in which a raccoon might attack a dog is if our friend ventures into the wild animal’s territory, particularly if there are young that need protection. If you’re casually walking through the woods and a coon attacks your dog out of nowhere, you are probably in its territory. Keep in mind that no wild animal attacks without a reason.

The second fundamental reason for which a raccoon might attack your dog is food. As we’ve said, these wild animals are smart, so they quickly learn and then remember if there’s plenty of food available in your house or around your property. Of course, dog food left outside is a feast for these predators, so they might come and check it out if they know it’s there.

Such a situation definitely puts them in direct confrontation with your dog, if he or she is around the yard as well. Besides being territorial, dogs are also known for not wanting to share their food, especially with an unwelcome guest.


But are raccoons really dangerous?

The answer to this question is a definite “Yes!”, and there are many reasons for which it is so. First of all, you need to be aware that raccoons have razor-sharp claws and strong teeth that they will not hesitate to use. In the wild, they are predators that often disembowel smaller animals. When they feel threatened, coons can severely injure large dogs as well.

When they attack, these predators usually go for the eyes, since they are aware that if a dog or other similar animal cannot see, then tearing it to pieces is a lot easier. If they do succeed with the first part of the plan, then they attempt to roll the victim on its back in order to attack the belly, and that’s where the sharp claws can get the job done in one swift motion.

We know that raccoons look simply adorable, but you should keep in mind that they are effective when it comes to killing. Moreover, an astonishing quality they have is how quickly they can move. Their slashing abilities are almost impossible to deal with, even by dogs who are skilled at defending themselves.

In case the raccoon goes for the dog’s chest, there’s a high chance that the lungs might get punctured in order to make it collapse since the dog won’t be able to breathe anymore. The abdomen is another exposed area which, if attacked, can lead to punctured intestines and septic peritonitis. You want to make sure that your dog is well-trained to face a raccoon.

What about drowning rumors?

According to witnesses and dog owners, raccoons can lure dogs into the water in order to drown them. While some claim that these are just rumors and that the wild animals won’t really plan on killing a dog by drowning it, others say they have witnessed the tactic.

The coons can apparently feign being cornered before they go into the water. Dogs usually follow them and once they get into the body of water as well, the predators climb onto their heads pushing them underwater. While this tactic might not seem very realistic, do keep in mind that people claim they’ve seen it and that raccoons are known for their intelligence.

Other than the multiple injuries that a dog can sustain in a fight with a raccoon, our beloved pets are also exposed to other types of health risks. Being wild animals, raccoons can carry mites, fleas, or ticks, as well as other more significant diseases such as rabies or leptospirosis.


Are dogs afraid of these wild animals?

Dogs are generally not afraid of raccoons, especially hunting dogs. Cats, on the other hand, will always try to stay away and steer clear of any masked bandit they will encounter. Unfortunately, this is not the case when it comes to dogs.

Our canine friends are extremely curious by nature, so they will want to check out the deal with the wild animal. Moreover, they have a strong sense of responsibility when it comes to protecting their home and territory, and they are natural hunters.

On the other hand, not all dogs are willing to fight a raccoon, especially if they have had previous experiences with these animals.




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