When the weather warms up, people often bring their dogs on adventures to wild and beautiful locations. Spring is also a time when many animals start to bear their young. This can often be a recipe for disaster. With this in mind, it is important to ensure that dog owners know to keep their dogs away from wildlife.

According to Robin Kepple, information specialist with the Game and Fish, keeping your dog away from wild animals not only for the wildlife, but for the dog as well.

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 very vulnerable and can stress more easily than adults.

In addition, dogs can get hurt by animals like porcupines, skunks, coyotes, bears, and mountain lions. Even big game animals like deer, moose, and elk can seriously injure your pooch.

It’s even possible for Fido to come home with fleas or contract diseases like rabies after coming into contact with wild animals.

“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. When outdoors, keeping your dog on a leash is always the best practice and can protect your pup from serious injury.

Additionally, Kepple notes that if a dog does come into contact with carnivore like a mountain lion or bear, the dog may try to seek refuge with the owner, drawing the predator towards people and leading into more problems.

It’s not only a good idea to keep your dog away from wildlife, but it is 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 wildlife. 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.