As autumn leaves start to change color and temperatures begin to cool, many areas enter a new season—hunting season. While many outdoor enthusiasts enjoy this time of year, hunting season poses hazards for pets. While you and your pet don’t need to stay indoors to avoid accidental injury, you do need to take precautions to ensure your loyal companion remains highly visible, secure, and out of harm’s way. Our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of La Marque team shares common hunting season pet safety hazards and tips for helping your four-legged friend avoid an accidental injury.
Ensure your pet stays safe on walks
During hunting season, finding a safe place to walk your dog can become more challenging. Your pet’s risk of being mistaken for game or coming into contact with traps increases significantly. To mitigate these risks, follow these tips:
- Research hunting season schedules and locations — When you know where hunting is allowed in your area, you can avoid these spots when walking with your pet. Dates vary based on location and quarry, and the Texas Parks & Wildlife website posts this important information.
- Use a Leash — One of the simplest ways to keep your pet safe is to always have them on a leash when outdoors. Although wide-open spaces can tempt you to unclip your pet’s leash and let them run free, keep your loyal companion at your side during hunting season to prevent them from entering potentially dangerous areas.
- Outfit your pet in bright colors — Dress your pet in bright, reflective fluorescent orange gear, the same color hunters wear to signal their presence to others. Outfitting your furry pal in this unmistakable color makes it less likely they will be mistaken for a game animal.
- Avoid walking your pet at dawn or dusk — Dawn and dusk are popular hunting times. Avoid walking your pet during these times of day, and stay away from known hunting areas.
Keep your pet from getting lost
For a pet with a noise aversion, hunting seasons’ blasts (e.g., gunshots) can be scary and disorienting. A frightened pet may react unpredictably and get loose trying to escape the triggering sound. Increase your four-legged friend’s chances of being returned to you if they go missing by ensuring they have proper identification, including:
- Secure collar and tags — Ensure your pet wears a collar with up-to-date identification tags so anyone who finds your furry pal can quickly get in touch with you.
- Microchip — Pet microchips provide permanent identification and cannot be removed or fall off like a collar can. If your pet is not microchipped, schedule an appointment with our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of La Marque team for the quick and simple procedure. Once the chip is in place, you need only ensure your contact information remains up-to-date in the microchip registry, so you can be notified as soon as possible if your pet is found.
- Training — Teach your pet essential commands, such as come, sit, stay, and leave it, to prevent them from running off and potentially getting lost.
Calm your pet’s nerves at home
To help your pet cope with startling sounds during hunting season, designate a safe, quiet space in your home where they can retreat from the noise. Prepare your pet’s room by doing the following:
- Closing draperies and window shades to dampen outside sounds.
- Including your pet’s favorite toy, blanket, and treat.
- Playing soft, calming music to muffle the noise.
- Wrapping your pet in an anxiety vest (i.e., ThunderShirt), which provides gentle pressure around their torso, helping decrease stress.
- Using pheromone sprays, such as Adaptil for dogs or Feliway for cats, to promote your pet’s wellbeing.
- Providing a food-stuffed toy (e.g., Kong) for distraction.
If your pet exhibits severe noise aversion or anxiety, they may benefit from sedation or anti-anxiety medication during loud events. Our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of La Marque team can recommend the most effective product to alleviate your four-legged friend’s fears.
Protect your pet from disease
During hunting season, pets are more likely to come into contact with wildlife that can transmit parasites and diseases. Protect your loyal companion from infection by taking these precautions:
- Vaccinate your pet — Ensure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date, including those that protect against rabies, leptospirosis, and Lyme disease, which wildlife can transmit.
- Administer year-round parasite prevention — Pets require year-round flea, tick, and heartworm preventives for the most comprehensive protection. These products are available in oral, topical, and injectable formulations and are administered monthly.
- Check your pet for ticks — Ticks are vectors (i.e., carriers) for many harmful bacteria species and are ubiquitous to wooded areas, leaf litter, and tall grasses. Check your pet for ticks after being outdoors, and remove any pests you find in your four-legged friend’s fur or on their skin.
- Use a leash — Avoid letting your pet off their leash to prevent them from coming into contact with wildlife or carcasses, which might carry diseases.
Hunting season poses unique challenges, but you can keep your pet safe, stress-free, and healthy by taking a proactive approach. Contact our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of La Marque team to have your four-legged friend’s parasite preventive prescription refilled and their vaccinations updated.