How to keep raccoons and posums out of my backyard?

I have a large dog, but I always make sure to bring him indoors before nightfall as I don't want him to go after a wild critter again. Yes, he got the 40 lb. raccoon, and killed it, but he got bit and scratched ( he just looked a little scratched up,I doctored him, but the next morning, my 65 lb. baby could barely walk,), so I was a worried Mom, and that meant an expensive trip to the vet! Barley can jump up and pluck these critters off a 6 ft. privacy fence. He knows the 'Leave it" and 'Drop it' commands, but goes crazy if a raccoon is near. I can get him to drop a possum and leave it and come to me. I thought possums were nocturnal, but they come out during the day in San Antonio. I just don't want another expensive vet bill. Barley gets all his shots and then some. So, fortunately that was 3 yrs. ago, and my best option is bringing my big boy in before dark. He gets along with his 2 sisters, who are 2 cats who adore him! Also, I have a lot of squirrels in the back yard, Barley just plays cat and mouse with them. He is very fast and can catch them if he wants to, but he knows I don't like picking up dead squirrels in the yard. Thanks.

  8 answers
  • Elaine Elaine on Jul 02, 2017
    Make sure you are not leaving any traces of pet food outside, fastening garbage bin lids tightly and cleaning up well after a bbq. We have plenty of raccoons around our subdivision (during the day as well!) AND coyotes and we never, ever put our dog out in the yard at night. Instead, we take the dog for a good walk every evening. It's good exercise for both of us.

    Your dog could have been blinded as a cornered raccoon can be dangerous and will go for a dog's nose and eyes (it happeneded to my husband's dog when he was a kid) so if you love your dog, please take it for a nightly walk.

    • Susan Susan on Jul 04, 2017
      I feed my dog indoors, never bbq, and keep garbage bins lids tightly closed, and the cans are not near the backyard. So, that is why I am puzzled about them crossing my yard. Taking Barley for a walk is a great idea, but the heat index in San Antonio is still 105 degrees at 8:30 pm. So for now he only goes out about 8:00 pm for a few minutes and I stand watch at the kitchen door. Thanks so much for your ideas and for writing.

  • Sue Blake Sue Blake on Jul 02, 2017
    It worked for me but you have to replace if it rains

    • Susan Susan on Jul 04, 2017
      Do you just drop mothballs in your yard? I would worry my dog would eat them. Thanks for writing!

  • Sharon McCarthy Cummings Sharon McCarthy Cummings on Jul 03, 2017
    Possums eat ticks and do not carry rabies. They will not harm you. Be happy they are in your yard.

    • Susan Susan on Jul 04, 2017
      Sharon, thanks for your response. You are correct possums don't carry rabies, but they do carry a lot of other nasty disesases, plus I don't want my dog to get bit and scratched and have to go to the vet for expensive antibiotics etc.

      Possums can carry Leptospirosis (which Barley is vaccinated for) which can also sicken humans. Some of the possum's fleas can carry the bacteria responsible for spotted fever and the fleas can transfer to our pets. Typically your dog doesn't exhibit symptons. Possums can carry and transmit tularemia and tuberculosis, internal parasites, Lyme Disease, Coccidiosis, trichomomasis, and Chagas disease just through contact.

      So, these are a lot of the reasons I don't want the critters around.

  • Elaine Elaine on Jul 04, 2017
    hi again, Susan ... I visited your beautiful state years ago and would love to return someday. Barley is a lucky dog with a good home and you, obviously are doing all the right things! I wish I could help you but we also have many raccoons around here and coyotes are becoming a HUGE problem. I live on the outskirts of a good sized city in southern Ontario with close proximity to country. We have miles of walking trails, lots of wooded areas, ravines and well over a dozen waterfalls in the immediate area - a hiker's paradise. Our local newspaper said people were reporting coyotes scaling their tall fences and then hanging around their backyards. Why? Because the coyotes have (previously) spotted a dog or cat being let out for air and the coyotes return hoping to grab a meal; in other words, a household pet! Many family pets are going missing as the coyotes are getting bolder which is now causing many young mothers to hesitate about letting a young child go out to play! We have no (humane) solution to our problem either.

    • Susan Susan on Jul 25, 2017
      Hi, Elaine, well my problem doesn't seem so bad compared to yours! Coyotes , my goodness. It sounds like you live in a beautiful area. It's been 100 degrees 5 days straight, and the heat index is 107 degrees. Will wait for cooler weather before taking Barley for a walk. Thanks so much for writing! You sure put things in perspective for me Elaine.

  • Elaine Elaine on Jul 26, 2017
    Yes, we all have our various battles with Mother Nature, don't we! :) Even though this is a good sized city, I'm very close to country so, deer, coyotes, etc. appear on the streets in this area. I saw a woman the other day out for a walk on a nearby trail and noticed she suddenly stopped and started to back up slowly (not turning her back). As I suspected, there was a well-fed looking coyote staring at her and blocking her way. My phone rang so I never did get to see where the coyote (or woman) went to. They usually trot away but if you are walking a dog (especially a small one), the situation can be dangerous. We receive very hot (for Canada) summers here - reaches about 90F or morewith humidity to match - so when I had my dog, I walked him in the evening.

  • DC DC on Jul 27, 2017
    my problem raccoons are so stubborn that to keep them from coming in the house , thru the cat door, and eating everything & making messes ; I have to leave them their own food bowls outside😳 So far so good tho👍🏻

  • Susan Susan on Jul 28, 2017
    Oh, my goodness!

  • Good luck ♥ We've had raccoon visitors during the night in my back yard several times over the years. They would catch the koi in my pond. Now it would be different if they would eat them, but they would just play with them and leave them all over the yard. I've tried animal control in our area, they said they wouldn't help us, but to get a Havahart trap, then release them at least 100 miles away because they travel that and more. An exterminator was way too expensive. Had a trap, tried, could never catch them...tried sardines, marshmallows, tuna, canned cat food and more. I devoured the web for info on how to get them to go. Tried criss crossing fishing line throughout the back yard, raccoon's didn't mind it, the dogs hated it. Lit the backyard up like a runway – didn't phase them, Human hair, human urine, could have cared less about either, Tried "The Scarecrow" motion detector that hooks to the hose and sprays when it senses motion. Raccoon's loved it,Dogs were scared of it and refused to go out during the day even when it was off. Tried coyote urine, didn't phase the coons one bit. Tried little red flashing lights around the perimeter of the yard, raccoon's didn't notice them. Summer came and they stopped coming. We had no birdseed out for the wild birds, no dog food out, nothing. They came back the following winter and brought friends. Tried everything again to no avail. Got up one morning and they were still here! They were usually gone by then. One of my dogs slipped....pushed by me as I was trying to shoo them away. She was a Great Dane....they took her down. Now I love all animals, but don't come to my place and mess with mine. My sons stayed up the following night, shot 2 of them. They haven't been back since. It was horrid, the screams my poor dog let out as they were biting her. Please be careful. I wouldn't attempt to even catch it, You have to pick up that wire cage after all!. They are fierce and will bite. Be careful please.