Having wild and large animals so close to us can be a relaxing and magical experience with the right preparation and awareness. Here are some tips to make sure that any animal encounter you and your dog may have while walking or hiking ends up magical and not tragic for you, your dog and the other animal.

The wildlife you see around town, on public streets, near your house or condo, and on hiking trails is just that—WILD LIFE! Don’t approach them and back away if they approach you and your dog.

Many of these animals are grazing, prey animals that move in family groups or herds for protection from predators. Th is is their home too, and while they may get used to having humans around them, they see you and your dog in their context—not yours! You could be a threat to their babies or to them. While most deer and elk will run, moose consider dogs a threat and may charge.

Keep your dog on a leash unless you are in a designated leash free area—no matter how tempting it is to let them run free.

Do not take your dog out unless it has an excellent verbal recall that has been tested in situations where your dog can be distracted. Your dog should come to you every time you call it.

Keeping some of these things in mind can make sure your hike or walk in the mountains ends safely and not in a veterinary emergency clinic.

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