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Large Backyard Predators

The three main large mammals that inhabit Arizona are the mountain lion, coyote, and the black bear (yes, even bears can be found in upper parts of northern Arizona). The most important thing we as pet owners need to apply to our lives when it comes to these predators is awareness.

lion, coyote, and bear in Arizona

Figure 1

Predators are not only on land, but can also come from the sky as well in the form of owls and hawks, even eagles. These are the most commonly seen of the predator birds here in Arizona that can pose a threat. You may not have thought so, but predator birds are capable of swooping down and attempting to pick up a Cavalier, and may have success with just a little puppy that is the same size as a favored meal, the rabbit.

great horned owl and red hawk in Arizona trees

Figure 2

So, whether you live in or at the base of a mountain, or in the center of a major city, an encounter can happen unexpectedly anytime, anywhere. Perimeter walls provide protection, but these can be breeched by lions and coyotes, who can jump these heights easily, especially if intent on a meal it may believe is within. Small dogs like our precious Cavaliers make easy prey, especially a lone dog out in a yard. And especially at night, which is when these predators usually hunt.

So, does this mean your Cavalier can’t even enjoy its yard, or enjoy a hike or a walk with you? Not at all, it’s just important to take safety precautions and to be fully aware of your surrounding areas.



If you live in higher risk areas, it is advised that you always accompany your Cavalier outside. You may want to consider always having your Cavalier on a leash so that even in your yard it cannot venture more than just a few feet away from you. For added protection at night, consider installing motion detector lights that when triggered can illuminate even the darkest corner of your property. Always carry a flashlight. You may also want to carry a whistle or pocket-sized air horn. These items can be found online, as well as at your local hardware and outdoor stores.

image of a whistle and bear horn used for predator protection

Figure 3

To offer yourself and your Cavalier more freedom, you can consider building a heavy wire or kennel fenced enclosure with a solid impenetrable roof.

Consider these additional tips:


  • Do not put a bell on your Cavalier’s collar. The sound can attract predators and signal exactly where they can find your little pet.

  • Do not ever keep any food outside, and never feed your Cavalier outside.

  • Cover drain holes and gaps in fencing and on your gates.

  • When out for a hike or walk, if you encounter an animal leave it be and put some space between you.

  • Pick up your Cavalier. Don’t ever run, as this can trigger a prey response and provoke a chase.


It’s important for us to realize that as human population and development in Arizona continues to grow, more and more of these animals are pushed from their natural habitats and forced into our cities and surrounding neighborhoods, where people and pets can be caught off guard. Just always do your best to stay mindful and aware of your surroundings, including on your own property.


Being aware, along with these tips, will go a long way in keeping you and your Cavalier safe!

Author: Angela Schuller

Disclaimer: As a breeder who cares deeply for my dogs and puppies I act as responsibly as I can.  The information provided is intended to inform and help to lessen the alarm when Arizona predators becomes a topic with your veterinarian. Ultimately, once a puppy leaves my home relinquished to an owner's care, owners must then take on the responsibility for their decisions. As always, if your pet has an urgent medical concern, please consult your veterinarian. Finally, as your trusted breeder, I am always available to offer support and answer questions.


Dogster Website;

A-Z Animals Website;

"Figure 1" jpg, courtesy of 12 News Arizona, Arizona Central,, ABC15 News, , Accessed 24 July 2023

"Figure 2" jpg, Jay's Bird Barn, , Accessed 24 July 2023

"Figure 3" jpg, open image google search

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