Hunting season is ramping up, and even if you don’t participate in the activity, as a pet owner, you should take extra safety precautions to help your loyal sidekick avoid injury and stress while enjoying the great outdoors during this time of year. Follow our Southern Kern Veterinary Clinic team’s do’s and don’ts to keep your pet safe during hunting season.

DO know when your local hunting seasons are in effect to help keep your pet safe

To help keep your pet safe during hunting season, knowledge is your first-line defense. Hunting seasons vary depending on the quarry and the geographic area, and you must know accurate, local information. Find hunting season dates on the California Parks and Wildlife website, and put them on your calendar. Being informed allows you to adjust your pet’s routine accordingly and take the necessary precautions to keep them safe.

DON’T walk your pet near hunting areas

In addition to knowing when hunting season begins and ends, you should be aware of local hunting areas’ permitted boundaries. Rather than walking your pet near known hunting areas and taking unnecessary risks, stick to pet-friendly trails and parks that are located well away from hunting activity

DO ensure your pet is visible 

Visibility is essential for you and your pet during hunting season. Hunting often takes place in the early morning or late evening hours when light conditions are low, and many pets’ natural-colored coats blend in with the surroundings, causing hunters to have difficulty distinguishing your furry pal from their prey. 

Before you venture outside with your pet during hunting season, enhance their visibility by dressing them in bright orange reflective clothing and accessories. Hunters recognize fluorescent orange as a signal that means do not shoot. Outfitting your loyal companion in this blaze orange color ensures they are clearly identifiable, reducing their risk of being injured in a hunting-related accident. In addition, if your pet will be outside during low light, attach a light-emitting diode (LED) light to their collar to enhance their visibility. Many LED collars and leashes have different settings, including steady and flashing lights, which can alert others to your pet’s presence from a distance.

DON’T forget to microchip your pet

Microchipping is an effective tool for keeping your pet safe not only during hunting season but throughout the year. Hunting season brings unfamiliar, loud noises, which may startle your pet and cause them to run away and become lost, and a microchip significantly increases the chances that you and your four-legged friend will be reunited. A microchip provides your pet with permanent identification, because the device cannot be removed or get lost like other identification types, such as a collar and identification tags. If your pet gets lost and is taken to a veterinary office or animal shelter, their chip is scanned, your contact information is revealed, and you and your loyal sidekick can be reunited. 

Our Southern Kern Veterinary Clinic team can easily implant a microchip under your pet’s skin during a routine physical examination. The microchip procedure involves injecting a tiny microchip under your four-legged friend’s skin at the back of their neck. The procedure is quick, easy, and relatively pain-free. Once your pet’s chip is in place, you must keep your contact information up-to-date in the microchip database. Remember, a microchip is not a substitute for a collar with identification tags. Ensure your pet’s tags display your updated contact information so anyone who finds your furry pal can quickly get in touch with you. 

DO provide a safe space for your pet 

Loud, unfamiliar sounds, such as gunshots, can cause your pet to feel anxious and fearful, which is why they should have a safe, quiet area at home where they can escape the noise. Make the space cozy and inviting by including your pet’s favorite bed or, if they enjoy napping in the enclosure, their crate. To drown out the loud noises, turn on white noise (e.g., television, radio). Regularly spend time with your four-legged friend in their safe spot, so they feel calm and comfortable when they are confined to this area of your home. Pheromone diffusers or sprays, such as Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats, create an atmosphere of peace and contentment. Pheromones are chemical messages pets share that promote security and comfort. Mist your furry pal’s bedding or a bandana with the spray, or treat the entire room with the diffuser. Puzzle toys, such as snuffle mats and treat-dispensing balls, can distract your pet while providing stimulating entertainment, satisfying them mentally and physically. 

Hunting season can be a tough time of year for your loyal sidekick, but you can help your pet feel calm and keep them safe by planning ahead and taking extra precautions. If you live near a hunting area and your pet exhibits severe anxiety while trying to hide or escape from gunshots, they may require sedation or anti-anxiety medication to cope with the noise. Contact our Southern Kern Veterinary Clinic team to discuss the most effective product to alleviate your pet’s fears.