by Cornell University
It's officially hunting season throughout much of the U.S. Whether you let your cats out by the woods, go hiking with your dogs, or live near a hunting area, it is important to know how to protect your pets.
Brian Collins, head of the community service practice at Cornell University's Hospital for Animals, offers some useful tips for dog and cat owners who head outdoors this time of year.
Outfit your dogs with bright clothing. Many sporting goods stores have orange reflective vests for dogs. In a pinch, tie brightly colored fabric such as bandanas around your dog's neck.
Do not let dogs off-leash in areas where hunting or trapping occurs. Shooting mistakes can happen, and some states allow body-gripping traps.
Do not let dogs chase deer regardless of the season. If your dog has this inclination, leashing at all times or reliable voice control is necessary.
Wear a vest or bright clothing yourself. Avoid earth tones. It is best for both of you to be very visible.
Make sounds when in the woods. Whistle or sing as you walk. If you hear shots, shout to make sure hunters know you're there.
Consider avoiding hunting areas altogether. Take this opportunity to check out urban parks or take walks through the village and sharpen your dog's heeling skills.
Do not let your dogs off-leash if your property borders hunting areas unless they are under close supervision.
Do not let pets eat carcasses. Dogs allowed to roam in hunting areas often find remains of deer carcasses and can become ill from ingesting them.
Consider pets' fears. Some pets become very anxious from the sound of guns. It's best to keep such pets away from areas where they'll hear gunshots. If this occurs near your home, your veterinarian may prescribe medication to help keep your friend calm.