When the weather warms up people often bring their dogs with them to wild and beautiful locations. With this in mind, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is warning dog owners to ensure their dogs do not chase or approach wildlife.

According to Robin Kepple, information specialist with the Game and Fish, keeping your dog away from wild animals is good for the dog and wild animals.

She says dogs have been known to not only attack wildlife, but to stress them to the point that they can’t recover. For this reason it is especially important to make sure your dog does not go after younger animals because they are more vulnerable and can stress more easily than adults.

In addition, dogs can get fleas when they come into contact with wild animals or can even contract diseases like rabies. In addition, dogs can get hurt by animals like porcupines, skunks, coyotes, bears and mountain lions. Even deer can seriously injure your pooch.

“Wild animals can be pretty unpredictable, and you really don’t want your dog tangling with a wild animal and coming back with the consequences,” Kepple says.

She adds that if you are entering an area with known wildlife, the best thing to do is leave the dog at home where they are safe. If you and your pet do go into areas with wild animals, Kepple says keeping your dog on a leash can help keep him safe.

She points out that often if a dog does wander off and run into a carnivore like a mountain lion or bear, the dog tries to run back to its owner and can actually draw the animal into humans which only leads to more problems.

It’s not only a good idea to keep your dog away from wildlife, but it is also illegal for a dog to harass big game and trophy animals. A dog owner can be fined between $120 and $220 if a dog is caught harassing wild animals. Pets can even be killed for harassing big game.

Anyone with questions about regulations or how to keep their dog safe can contact the Game and Fish office at 307-745-4046.