Are Deer Dangerous to Dogs?

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are deer dangerous to dogs

Many property owners stay vigilant when it comes to deer because of a concern that their dog will be attacked. However, which of these animals is the aggressor when it comes to a potential exchange?

Normally, deer are not aggressive animals. They are not predators, so naturally, they have no reason to be aggressive towards dogs. It seems as if some property owners have it backward, and deer should be protected from dogs. 

In all actuality, this is what causes most exchanges between the two animals. Although deer can be dangerous to dogs when they are provoked, no deer will physically engage a dog unless it is protecting itself. 

How Deer Respond to Dogs

If a deer feels threatened by a dog, the deer will respond with furious and heavy kicks toward the animal. A deer’s legs are incredibly strong, and this can lead to severe injury or death of the dog. 

The springtime is an especially dangerous time for these exchanges. This is when female deer give birth to their fawns, and the mother will always protect her babies. If an unsuspecting dog crosses the path of a doe and her fawns, the mother will engage the dog if she feels the young deer are threatened. 

More Insight On these Conflicts

It’s also possible for a dog to attack a deer if they feel like the deer is threatening its owner. Dogs are very loyal animals and will protect their owners at all costs.

When you are on a stroll with your dog, and a deer crosses your and your dog’s path, don’t be surprised to see your dog’s hair stand up on its back. The dog may become aggressive, even barking and pulling away from you in an attempt to engage the deer. 

You must hold onto your dog tight. If he or she gets free somehow, a chase will ensue, and it might be hard to recover your dog. A deer can lead a dog on a chase for miles, and this can make it difficult for your dog to find its way home. 

Seasonal Effects

The time of year is a huge factor when it comes to deer and dog conflicts. Let’s examine different seasons to understand the likelihood of these battles. 

Spring

As we mentioned before, spring is the primary birthing season for a doe and her fawns. Fawns are not very strong, and you may have noticed how small and fragile their legs can be. It wouldn’t be hard for a large dog to seriously injure or kill a fawn. 

A dog doesn’t have to be aggressive for a doe to take its advances the wrong way. It’s possible a dog may only want to play or inspect the fawn out of curiosity. However, a doe has no way of knowing whether the dog has good intentions. 

She will respond the only way she knows how, and this is aggression out of protection for her babies. A decent-sized doe would have no problem seriously injuring or killing a medium to large breed dog with a few well-placed kicks. 

It’s important to keep your dogs secure and stay vigilant when they are outside during the spring. This is the worst time for your dog to get caught in a mixup with a female deer. 

Winter

Winter is the hardest season for a deer to live through. They can become weaker because of the fat they are using to keep themselves properly nourished. This can lead to deer wandering onto your property in search of food. 

Now the deer are encroaching on your dog’s property, and surely your canine will not take kindly to these advances. Most dogs will almost certainly attack during these occasions. 

Deer may not have a lot of energy because of their lackluster feeding habits during this time of year. Instead of choosing to run, the deer may decide to stand and fight. Despite their weakened state, their kicks can be just as fierce and lead to potential disaster for your dog. 

Remain mindful in the winter for deer approaching your property. Never leave your dogs outside unattended during the colder months. 

Mating Season

During mating season, bucks are especially aggressive. They are on high alert for anything they can do battle with, and a dog will do just fine. 

The extra testosterone flowing through a buck makes them especially dangerous. Deer mating season is in October and November, so you should remain on high alert for confrontations between deer and your dog during this time. 

Related: How To Cut Deer Antlers For Dogs

Preventing Confrontation

There are several effective ways to prevent a confrontation between a deer and your dog. 

  1. Fencing

Keeping efficient fencing around your home can be a great way to protect your dog from getting into a battle with a deer. Make sure the fence is high enough to actually keep the deer out. 

Alternatively, you want the dog to be kept inside as well. There’s a higher chance your dog will attempt to jump out to chase a deer than a deer coming in to fight your dog. Normally, the deer will hear the dog’s bark, and this can be enough to make them flee the property. 

  1. Keep Dogs Away from Gardens

Deer will be especially attracted to your garden if you have one. Keep your dog away from the garden to prevent potential conflict between the two animals. 

Although dogs will normally be the aggressor, there are times when doe or bucks will encroach on a dog. It’s important to keep these two species separated at all costs. 

Mind the seasons when you allow your dog to roam free, so they don’t unknowingly cross the wrong buck or does path. Hold your dog tight if you are walking them in a highly-populated area for deer. 

You can still enjoy the wild tranquility of deer and still have a dog. Just make sure to keep your dog indoors and away from the site of deer while you’re doing your watching!

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