Wyoming is long removed from the days of the Wild Wild West. But the Cowboy state is still a potentially very wild place to call home, especially with lots of wide open spaces and our abundance of wild animal friends.

As the weather warms up, we are all starting to venture out into the beautiful backcountry and open spaces around the state.  For dog owners this means that there is a possibility of encountering dangerous wild animals as we venture out.

Photo by Mark Braun, Facebook

Sometimes those wild animals come to us! That was the case with the dog pictured above.

A pack of coyotes ventured on to the home owners property and had it not been for the quick actions of the dog's owner, this pet might have been lost when a pack of coyotes attacked.

Residents all across the cowboy state do what we can to help conserve and protect our wildlife and wide open spaces and keep them wild.  However, living in a town or rural community in Wyoming doesn't mean that the wildlife won't come in for a closer visit from time to time!

All across the western states, we hear news stories of coyotes, mountain lions, bears, and even moose causing havoc in and around our communities. Sometimes they are just passing through. Other times they are looking for a place to call home with resources, or just for looking for an easy meal.

Dog owners should be on the look out for potential predators, especially coyotes while in the outdoors.  If you live on the outskirts of town or in a rural area, you're probably familiar with these cunning little critters. Not only do they prey on chickens and lambs, but our cats and dogs as well.

But there are some ways you can protect your pets from being attacked while at home:

The first of which is - Don't Leave Your Dog Outside Unsupervised!  That might seem like a no brainier, but lots of people let their pets roam freely around their property all day or even night.

Another means of keeping your pets safe on your own property is Coyote-Proof Fencing.  A solid 6 foot fence that runs at least a foot and a half (18 in.) in to the ground.  Why in the ground?  Because coyotes are great diggers!

In addition, you might consider topping a fence with barbed wire or hot wire (an electric fence that shocks any animal that it touches).

Another tip for home owners is to install a motion sensor light to protect your yard that is pointed outside the fence line. The motion of the coyote will cause the light to turn on and startle the coyote and hopefully scare it away.  But it also lets you and your pet know that something is approaching the property.

For small dogs, there something called a "Coyote vest" which has spikes and makes it hard for coyotes to grab your pet and really can provide good protection.  But some of these products (and there are several) are a bit pricey.

Coyotes carry and transmit a variety of diseases and parasites.  Rabies, distemper, fleas, worms and even ticks are commonly found among them.  With this in mind, keeping coyotes out of your yard and out of our neighborhoods should be of utmost concern for everyone.

Should you need further help, a quick search online can provide you with several solutions to coyote and other predator problems.