Do Dogs In Heat Attract Bears?

by Stuart | Last Updated:   July 8, 2021

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No. Being in heat does not affect bears being attracted to your dog. Bears could be attracted to dogs, but not specifically because they are in heat. A dog in heat won’t attract a bear any differently than a dog not in heat. 

A bear might be attracted to your furry companion because they have associated dogs with people and food. Bears have an amazing sense of smell. It’s very unlikely that they would be attracted to your dog rather than food anyways.

Bear in tall grass in the distance

A Bear’s Sense of Smell

Bears have the best and keenest sense of smell in the animal kingdom. For bears, the sense of smell is how they truly see the world. You might be surprised to know that bears’ sense of smell is almost seven times greater than a bloodhound’s. A bear can smell is 2’100 times better than a human.

Now, this means that bears can smell you, your dog, your eateries, or literally anything, from miles away. That’s the reason it’s generally recommended not to take your dog to bear country. 

Can Dogs Attract Bears?

Bears are extremely territorial, and an unleashed dog can easily enter their territory. Even though there are lots of cases when dogs chase bears away, it can just as easily be the opposite. Barking dogs can annoy bears and they might come to chase your dog and you down. 

The scenario can be different if your dog is used to seeing wild animals and is trained and very well behaved. But in general, it’s just a risk for you and your dog.

Quick tip: Remember that bears are more active at dawn and dusk. Always stick to daytime hiking, observe leash laws, and stay on established trails.

Keep Dogs Safe From Bears

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If you are a dog owner in a bear country, it’s best to minimize bear-dog encounters. 
  • If your pooch does not respond well to voice commands, it is best to leave your dog at home when hiking or camping.
  • When a bear chases a dog, the dog often runs back to its owner. This makes a very dangerous situation for you and your dog.
  • Dogs can provoke defensive behaviours in bears. When travelling through bear country, it’s best to keep your dog leashed or have a very well trained dog.
  • Bears can run fast and your dog might not be able to outrun a bear.

Even well-trained dogs can get unpredictable around bears. So, the absolute safest thing to do is leave your dog at home.

Quick tip: Always respect a mother bear. Never let your dog come between her and her cubs. A provoked mama bear might lead to a potentially dangerous encounter.

Do Female Dogs Run Away When In Heat? 

Female dogs have a high tendency to run away in heat. They do this because they want to spread their scent around the immediate area to attract nearby males. 

Male dogs will also roam around in search of the female giving off this scent. They will be trying their hardest to get to your dog if she’s in heat

If you have a female dog in heat, it is best to keep her inside as much as possible. Walk her in your backyard rather than around your neighbourhood to prevent any unwanted encounters.

Can I Take My Dog Camping if Dhe is in Heat?

In certain situations, yes. However, if you have selected a camping area with a lot of other campers and their dogs, it’s best to keep your female dog back home. If you plan to keep her at the campsite, be sure to monitor and supervise her at all times. You must ensure that your girl dog is comfortable and she doesn’t have any unwanted male visitors.

Female dogs may also attract local or other camping dogs hoping for a chance to breed. Once they catch the scent of your dog in heat, they’ll be wanting to find their way to her. This not only creates stress for you, but it also causes stress for other dog owners having to keep their dogs in check.

The blood smell might induce some curiosity among other wild animals and lead to them checking the area out. Mostly that would be other predators looking for an easy meal. They can perhaps be other close relatives like fox, coyote, or wolf.

Are Bears Attracted to Dog Poop?

Bears are attracted to dog poop at your campsite. Bears can smell everything, including the undigested bits of food in your dog’s poop. Although poop may not seem like a tempting item, for a curious bear, anything even remotely related to food might be enough to attract them. They will often come to consume it.

You must wrap the poop in a poop bag and then place it in the covered garbage bin that you have set up around the campsite.

Will Dogs Scare Bears Away?

A dog can easily smell a bear and alert you in advance that a bear is there. This can in turn divert a potential encounter. A barking dog can discourage a bear from investigating a campsite.

Black bears usually run away when dogs chase them. Even the smallest dog breeds have scared black bears away.

Dogs that are walking or hiking with their owners sometimes run off into the woods to harass and annoy bears. Usually, the bears run away, and the dogs come back happily and satisfied. Sometimes, the mother bear with cubs chases some dogs away.

These dogs retreat behind their owners and often bring mother bears and owners face to face. The bear can redirect its hostility to you or other family members. Keeping dogs on leashes avoids most of the problems.

Wrapping up 

The bottom line: An unleashed and untrained dog in bear country increases the likelihood of an avoidable bear encounter. 

There is no information that proves that a dog in heat attracts bears in a different way. However, you should be aware of other wild animals that are more closely related to dogs. Coyotes and wolves are attracted by a female dog in heat.

Stuart loves blogging about his hobbies and passions. Sir Doggie is a place for him to share what he learns while being a pet parent. Click here to read more.
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