Many people enjoy hiking with their dogs in natural areas. Its both a great experience for the dogs and for their owners . It is normal that people who have dogs love to see them roam free in nature and dogs really love it. However, there are many reasons why dogs can cause serious disturbances to wildlife, and this is why many parks, forests and preserves have banned walking your dog without a leash. The two major issues are predation and dog feces.
Dogs love chasing pretty much anything that moves – small wildlife such as birds, squirrels, amphibians or even bigger mammals and their babies. Even though they are rarely capable of killing their prey, they can cause mortal injuries. Furthermore, even if the animals manage to escape unharmed, expending energy on running away from dogs can be enough of a burden for wildlife. Food is scarce in the forest, and this extra expenditure can be fatal for some animals, especially pregnant mammals and their newborns. Dogs without leashes are a serious problem in the forest that I most frequently visit. They are particularly dangerous for the young deer, every year there are fatal accidents.
Dog feces often carry many pathogens that can be harmful to the wildlife such as : Parvovirus, Muscle cysts, Leptospirosis or parasites such as ticks, tapeworms etc.
Dog feces can also pollute the water and with their high concentrations of phosphorus and nitrogen.
Most dog owners are removing their dogs feces when they are in the city, but don’t see the necessity to do it in nature. Consider these issues seriously and carry bags to scoop your dogs’ poop when you’re out in the forest.
To all the dog lovers who want to let their fellow companions roam free : find parks or areas within the forests specifically designated for dogs. When you are hiking in forests, or protected areas, please keep your pets on a leash.
Please forward this article to your dog loving friends and help them protect wildlife.