Outdoor Federation

Do Dogs Attract Bears While Hiking

Dogs are known to be loyal hiking partners, but do they also attract bears while on the trail? A recent study found that dogs do in fact attract bears, and that hikers should take caution when bringing their furry friends along on outdoor adventures. The study showed that 71 percent of grizzly bear interactions with people in US involved dogs, most often resulting in the bear’s retreat.

Do Dogs Attract Bears While Hiking

What Attracts Bears to Dogs

Bears are one of the largest predators in the animal kingdom. They can weigh up to 600 pounds and stand over 7 feet tall. Despite their size, they are shy and typically avoid humans. However, there are a few things that can attract bears to dogs.


Bears are attracted to the smell of dogs because they associate the smell with food. Dogs have a lot of meat on them, and bears are attracted to meat. When a bear smells a dog, it is likely to approach the dog in order to find out where the food is. This can be dangerous for both the dog and the owner.


Bears are attracted to food. This is a fact. Dogs, as omnivores, produce a lot of scent when they eat. This scent attracts bears. Dogs, being territorial animals, tend to bark and growl when they encounter a bear. The barking and growling only serve to further attract the bear to the dog.

Noise From Dog

According to a study published in the Journal of Mammalogy, noise emitted by dogs will attract bears. The study found that when dogs bark, they emit a sound that is similar to the one bears make when they are foraging for food. This similarity in sound causes bears to become interested in dogs and often leads to the bears approaching them.

Fun Outdoor Quiz

dog jumping on lawn during daytime

Dog Playfulness

The playfulness of dogs is one of the main reasons why they attract bears. Dogs will often bark and run around in an attempt to play with the bears. This can sometimes lead to dangerous situations, as the bears may become agitated and attack.

How to Avoid Encounters with Bears

When hiking or camping in bear country, it is important to take precautions to avoid encounters with bears. By following a few simple guidelines, you can reduce your chances of having an encounter with a bear. Here are 5 tips for avoiding bears:

Make Noise

A recent study suggests that making noise while hiking in bear country can help avoid dangerous encounters with the animals. The study analyzed data on bear attacks from both North America and Europe, and found that making noise was the most effective means of avoiding an attack. This is not surprising, as bears are naturally wary of humans and will often avoid them if they hear or smell them coming.

Carry Bear Deterrents

Bears are one of the most dangerous animals in North America. While it is rare for a person to be attacked by a bear, it is important to be prepared in case of an encounter. Carrying a deterrent, like pepper spray, can help you avoid an attack.

Avoid Areas with High Bear Activity

In order to avoid an encounter with a bear while in the wilderness, it is important to be aware of areas with high bear activity. Bears are naturally curious and can be dangerous if they feel threatened. Make sure to avoid areas where there is evidence of recent bear activity. This includes trails, rivers, and anywhere that bears may have been scavenging for food.

brown bear walking on brown dirt during daytime

Know how To Identify Bear Signs

It is important to be able to identify bear signs so that you can avoid encounters with bears. Some basic signs that indicate the presence of bears include: claw marks on trees, overturned logs, fresh diggings, droppings, and recent sightings.

Store Food and Scented Items Properly

One of the best ways to avoid an encounter with a bear is to store food and scented items properly. This means keeping all food, including pet food, in a secure location, such as a bear-proof container. It is also important to avoid leaving garbage or food scraps outdoors.


While it is important to be aware of dogs’ potential to attract bears while hiking, the chances of an actual encounter are relatively slim. If you are hiking with a dog and come across a bear, remain calm and back away slowly. Always leave food and garbage secured in a vehicle or bear-proof container, and never try to pet or feed a bear. With these precautions in mind, hikers can safely enjoy the great outdoors with their furry friends by their side.

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