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My dog's new BFF is a wild fox. Is that a problem? UPDATE: Is my dog The Other Woman

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  • My dog's new BFF is a wild fox. Is that a problem? UPDATE: Is my dog The Other Woman

    A couple of weeks ago I started hearing an odd animal sound when I was outside doing chores after dark. The best way I can describe the sound is like a wounded seagull.

    I have 2 dogs with me when I am outside doing chores, one has to stay on a leash as he is an incorrigible run away, even at the age of 13. The other is new to me, a stray we took on in mid December. Approx 12 months of age, a lovely, lovely female German Shep Cross. She is good off leash and will dart off to investigate something but then comes back.

    The creature would stay just outside the lighted areas but clearly followed all the way to the barn and back again. The young dog would dart off toward the sound but always come back, happy and tailwaggy.

    This went on for several days with me trying to figure out what it was, I was almost certain it was not a coyote, did not sound like it, but could not figure out what it was.

    My dog would dash off and hang out with whatever it was then always come back. After about a week of this the creature ventured into the ring of the yard light side by side with my dog, it was clearly a fox.

    Since then, fox and dog are becoming very friendly. The fox now even comes to the yard in broad day light and waits for dog to come out and play. Dog and fox don't wrestle, but they chase each other in large circles and appear to have a grand old time.

    If I don't let the dog out to play with her, fox just sits there for 5-10 minutes then wanders off back into the woods. Fox now comes almost daily. I have tried to get pictures but if they are close enough to be more than black specks, the fox runs off when I step out of house.

    Question: Is this little inter-species friendship going to end badly? I have been told that coyote will lure a dog away, as far as I know foxes are solitary. I have only ever seen this solitary fox.

    I also know that foxes can carry rabies, my dog is vaccinated and apparently there were 2 incidents of rabies infected foxes in my province all of last year (vs 18 skunks).

    I don't want to break up this little friendship if I don't have to as I admit I am pretty charmed by all of this.
    Last edited by Mozart; May. 6, 2013, 03:53 PM.

  • #2
    For what it's worth, I had the exact same scenario with a very large male cat we had whom a little red fox befriended. They played the same way and we figured it out the same way: "wounded seagull" call in the early morning hours and then saw them trotting around together out back.
    I doubt seriously a fox will be able to put a hurtin' on a shepherd mix (I mean, the fox in my scenario was the same size as a large house cat) and this fox was clearly in play-mode, as yours sounds to be. I too would be hesitant to break up the friendship bc it is awfully charming but if the fox does get rabies or another communicable disease it might be a problem real quick. I think I've heard on this board you can put out Ivermectin for mangy foxes but not sure if you should/could do that preemptively.


    • #3
      Fox can carry other diseases, such as the fox tapeworm (which can be transmitted to humans via domesticated pets). Here's info on the diseases fox carry; hopefully you can reduce the transmission risk to your dog. http://www.thefoxwebsite.org/disease/diseaseother.html


      • #4
        Oh my gosh I hope you can get photos or video of them playing. How sweet!

        Custom Painted Saddle Pads and Ornaments


        • #5
          It's not uncommon. Just make sure your dog is UTD on vaccines and spayed.

          My late, great GSD had a coyote that hung out with him and so did my Malamute.
          Most of the time it's a juvenile just starting out on it's own. They miss their littermates and having company and will play with large dogs for a while until they mature a bit more and move on. And sometimes (though not common) it's an oldster. In our case it was an ancient coyote that played with the GSD. It wasn't quite sure how to play, had no interest in a ball and Chase was a Ball Addict. But it would carry branches around and wag, then find a shady spot and watch.
          With the Malamute, he chased off any coyote or fox. He was very territorial. But he had one coyote he had no issues with, a young female. She thought he was sexy, he was flattered but neutered, LOL!

          Coyote and fox are extremely curious and both love to play. It's not unusual for either to become fascinated with dogs larger than they are. (small dogs and coyote aren't a good mix) Or for either to think us humans are a spectator sport. They're kinda hilarious to watch...you'd be amazed at how intelligent they are.
          You jump in the saddle,
          Hold onto the bridle!
          Jump in the line!


          • #6
            I'd love to see a video!
            I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


            • #7
              In a way you're just seeing how evolution got us dogs. I wouldn't sweat it as long as your dog is vaccinated and spayed. As for worms -going outside and doing what dogs do (like poop eating or rolling) gets them worms and we worm them. No biggie.

              GET VIDEO!


              ETA: You know I had to go looking on Youtube! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxNSYBFZpoo
              He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


              • #8
                There's some land my dad works on and there's an old red fox that always appears out of the woods when he hears my dad's truck or if he whistles for him. Runs around and plays like a dog. He never tries to pet the fox or anything, just enjoys his company.

                Can't speak to the safety of dog interaction, rabies and other disease would definitely be a concern. It'd be cool if there was a way to vaccinate or deworm the fox--not suggesting you try it.


                • #9
                  I know you can get feed though mange meds and maybe a strongid? for the fox for worms????


                  • #10
                    Yeah at least it is a chance to get the fox healthier than it would be otherwise!
                    Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

                    Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Big_Tag View Post
                      For what it's worth, I had the exact same scenario with a very large male cat we had whom a little red fox befriended. They played the same way and we figured it out the same way: "wounded seagull" call in the early morning hours and then saw them trotting around together out back.
                      Big galoot kitteh and fox! All trotting together. Want to see it! Fox and cat friends. Most excellent!
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat


                      • #12
                        My biggest concern would be disease transmission.

                        We have a TON of foxes near our home and my dogs go absolutely nuts. They sit and watch out the window for our friendly neighborhood fox.

                        I refer to it as my dogs watching "fox tv". Seriously, they just wait and wait and wait! She was burrowing under our tractor and had some kits this spring. THe dogs are totally intrigued.

                        But as others have mentioned, like any other wild animal, it's important to remember disease. If your dog is on HWP that covers many of the usual intestinal parasites, is UTD on rabies, and is bigger than the fox then I wouldn't worry at all.

                        However, in our area where fox are so common, we've had several cats and small dogs come in to the clinic having been attacked by fox too.
                        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                        Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                        • #13
                          Our neighborhood fox used to come in the yard to hang out with my old-man dog. They didn't play, just lounged in the grass together. Fox is still here and now just converses with my two from the other side of the fence. It wakes me up a few times a week in the summer by barking to get the attention of my dogs...always right by my window. Way different than a dog bark, but very cool.

                          The coyotes don't care about the pet animals around here. They want rabbits! And the love lounging in the grass in front yards. Easter morning two were plopped in my front lawn...they made us late to church. But my dogs are so used to them they don't make any noise at them.

                          It's such a cool dynamic they have, isn't it??
                          "IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique


                          • #14
                            search youtube for fox, eagle and cat hang out together... they are not playing, just hanging out in same space.


                            • #15
                              I have no viewpoint on the very real concern that disease transmission could occur, but I wouldn't be able to break the friendship up either. Heck, I still cry when I watch Fox and the Hound and have the theme song on my ipod! It sounds utterly adorable.


                              • #16
                                I wouldn't worry too much as long as I had flea flea flea and vax prevention on board.
                                “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thanks for the replies. Dog is spayed and up to date on vaccinations and deworming. I would love to get some sort of pics or video but they usually play pretty far out in the hayfield. When they are close by I run to get the camera but always zoom off again. They play chase games.

                                  The fox looks healthy; no obvious mange issues. I have thought about leaving out some meat wih ivermectin but I am concerned by dogs would get it; I know they can easily overdose with ivermectin.

                                  A charming romance for sure (although I frankly have no idea if it is male or female) but fox is getting pretty vocal at night calling for his beloved! As in, starting to keep me up at night! I am still charmed though.

                                  She and our other dog watch "Fox TV" too. They sit by the window, lower jaw on window sill, waiting for Fantastic Mr. Fox to make an appearance. Canine equivalent of constantly checking for texts from boyfriend I guess.


                                  • #18
                                    The white barn kitty I lost not long ago had a play relationship with a fox baby, too. It was adorable. They would chase and roll and play in the back pasture all night, and at the first hint of daylight, Frosty would come up to the back pasture gate, with little fox in tow.... they'd lay together near the gate, and when the sun came up Frosty would come in, and little fox would go back out to his den. This went on until the fox family moved on. The following spring, I spotted a young fox out in the field, and Frosty was right out there, although his "friend" was much bigger by then... they had a few more nights of romping play, then the youngster headed out again.... Frosty would go lay out in the pasture, waiting, but finally got the message that his friend had moved on. I never got a video.
                                    "I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you..."


                                    • Original Poster

                                      The friendship continues. I have tried to get pics or video but they take off like rockets and play waaay out in the hayfields or pastures.

                                      However...on Friday a.m. I was looking out the window and saw something small and furry right next to an old abandoned hen house that is literally 50 feet from my house. Thought it was a cat then saw more of them, then the fox, then realized..they are kits!

                                      Now I don't know who my dog has been playing with. I have seen her with what seems to be a very big fox, I have also seen that big fox run across our road. Sometimes the fox she is running also seems smaller. Is it possible she is playing with the male while mommy fox is home with the kits? (the cad). Or could she be playing with the female? Would she leave her babies to go play with a dog?

                                      Then I thought, maybe all this "play" is them keeping her away from the den. She sure knows where it is though, she watches them from the living room window. However, they don't just show up when she is already outside, one (or maybe both) of them does "call" her and wait for her to come out. I can't believe they picked a spot so close to my house.

                                      One more question...would it be horribly unethical or bad in a "disturb the natural order" way to leave out some cat food for mommy fox near the den? She is nursing after all....


                                      • #20
                                        I'm not sure cat food is really good for foxes, or any animal other than cats, because its so high in protein. I might suggest putting out meat though, or dog food.