Critters: Fall safety for pet owners

This hunting season dress your pup in bright colors, make noise as you walk and keep your dog on leash. credit: Debra Bell, Bell’s Furry Friends Photography

This hunting season dress your pup in bright colors, make noise as you walk and keep your dog on leash.
credit: Debra Bell, Bell’s Furry Friends Photography

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year in Maine. Foliage turns the green canopy into a crazy quilt of color. The weather turns temperate and being outside is something that can be enjoyed by both pets and their people.

But there are some important things to think about when you head out into the great Maine outdoors during the fall with your pup, especially during hunting season.

For many dog owners one of the most important considerations during the fall is making sure you and pup are safe when hiking or exploring Maine. That means being aware of where you are and when you’re out.

When in doubt this hunting season, keep to areas that you know hunters won’t be. But if you’re going to hike trails or venture into the woods, there are some simple tips for making sure fall is a safe and happy time for you and your pup.

Visibility rules. So how do you keep safe when venturing into the woods or hiking on a trail? First, make sure you and pup are exceptionally visible. Blaze orange or bright yellow are two colors that you should make sure your pup is outfitted with. This is especially important for brown dogs and tan dogs. But don’t just make sure pup is outfitted in bright colors. You should make sure you wear bright colors too. Avoid neutral colors and the color white, all of which could be construed as the coloring of a deer or turkey.

Don’t be silent. Silence between you and your pup could actually put you in danger. No one wants to be surprised, especially hunters. As you walk with your pup, talk to her or make noise. Not only will your dog appreciate it, but you’ll enhance your visibility to any hunter who is stalking prey. Consider attaching a bell to your pup’s collar to enhance its presence in the woods or trail.

Keep your dog on leash. By keeping your pup on leash you prevent it from taking off after wildlife and can keep her safe from traps or being accidentally shot. There’s nothing worse than a lovely walk cut short by a mouth full of quills or getting mistaken for a deer.

Not only that, but if you’re walking in an area that other dogs tend to frequent keeping your dog on leash can control the dog’s introduction to another dog. Some dogs don’t want to be approached, even if you think your dog is friendly.

Leashes also prevent pup from getting its mouth on an animal carcass which can make it ill. They also protect pup from running off if a gunshot scares it.

Debra Bell is a freelance writer, graphic designer and the owner of Bell’s Furry Friends Photography (a division of Bell Imaging & Design LLC). Bell’s Furry Friends Photography has been named Bangor’s Best Pet Photography Studio in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Debra and her husband Bill, are owned by a Maine coon cat named Olivia and two greyhounds, Laura and Buddy. See her work and learn more about Bell’s Furry Friends Photography at

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