Are Deer Dangerous to Dogs?

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Deer are foragers and not predators. When deer attacks another animal, it is not for food but protection, and this is the reason deer is dangerous to dogs. Dogs and deer have a long history of chase and intimidation. When deer feels a dog is a threat, it will stand its ground and attack by gorging it or handing it brutal kicks. Whichever way, your dog can sustain serious injuries that may lead to paralysis or death. That is the level of danger deer poses to your dog. 

April and May mark springtime, and it is the time that does give birth to fawns. If a dog crosses the path of a doe and its fawn, there can be only one result, and the deer will attack the dog. Homeowners also suffer an influx of deer in their property when the survival gets hard in winter. Such times trigger lots of deer to dog attacks. 

Understanding Deer and Dog Conflict

Dogs are domestic animals that have loyalty to their owners. Regardless of their size, what each dog has is courage and love for their owner to protect them from any situation. As such, if you live in a property that encounters lots of deer visits, then you are bound to face many deer and dog conflicts. 

Dog owners may assume that their dogs are gentle or friendly. But you may never know how your dog will react to the sight of a deer. The most basic instinct is that your dog gets excited and barks at the deer. Other breeds become confrontational, and this leads to a chase. The dog is probably lighter when chasing deer on snow and will not struggle much. 

When Do Deer Attack Dogs

There are many reasons why deer and dogs are always in conflict. The primary reason is the time of the season.  


Winter is probably the harshest season for deer, and most will perish during this time. It is not only stressful to deer but also other animals, and this leads to human and deer conflict. 

During winter, the temperatures drop, and the food sources become scarce. If deer live around human settlements, it will have to do anything to ensure its survival. Jumping over fences is a common occurrence, and if you keep dogs in your property, there will be an inevitable confrontation.

When dogs chase deer in winter, it can have grave consequences that may lead to death. The extra energy expended from the fat reserves can prove vital, separating the deer’s life and death. Instead of a deer running, it may choose between fight instead of flight and can attack your dog. 


Deer give birth to fawns during Spring. Fawns are fragile and small with tiny legs that belabor them while walking on snow. Sometimes you might see a fawn without the mother’s insight. But this is not an invitation for you to get closer to the fawn

When a doe senses a threat in the air, it hides its fawn, but if you or your dog discover the fawn, know the mother is never far away. It would be best if you walk away to avoid a deer and dog confrontation. 

The best chance of a fawn to survive winter is with the mother. Any stress that may lead to the mother not surviving will also endanger the fawn’s life and should be avoided at all costs. 

The Rut Season

The mating season is like a festive season as testosterone hangs wild in the air. It is the period that is also known as the mating season, and bucks are often aggressive during this time. You do not want your dog meeting a mature buck brandishing fully-grown antlers. 

Bucks during the rut are up for any challenge, including dogs and other animals. Male deer turn aggressive on the slightest whim. The rut starts in October and lasts until November. At this time, there is little daylight, which triggers the release of testosterone in bucks. It is also when bucks have a high libido and are always in a contest with other bucks. It is best to keep your dog away.  

How to Prevent A Deer from Attacking your Dog

Keeping a Fence.

A fence that prevents deer from accessing your property is the most viable and primary way to avoid deer and dog conflict. The fence’s structure should counter the abilities of deer to squeeze through tight spaces or jump over. An ideal fence is one that has no spaces between poles and as high as 8 feet tall. 

Growing Food Crops in Your Property

Part of deer management in your property includes feeding them the right foods for the season. Food plots are a typical way of attracting deer to your property and keeping them fed. Deer will seldom cross paths with humans if there is no scarcity of food sources. 

Stepping in between you and your dog when you see aggression from both animals

How to Keep a Fawn Safe from Your Dog?

If you see a fawn in the wild, or even in your neighborhood at home, stop and ask yourself whether the fawn;

  • Has been wandering or crying for more than an hour?
  • Injured, infested with flies or maggots, bleeding, cold, or wet?
  • Is lying on its side?

If you answered no to all of these questions, DO NOT TOUCH IT. Leave the fawn alone.

However, if you find a dead adult deer nearby, or the fawn was placed in a dangerous location, put on an odorless pair of medical gloves and move the fawn to a safer location. Just make sure the new spot is no more than 50 yards from where you found it. Next, call your nearest wildlife officials to report the encounter.

Laws That Govern Deer and Dog Owners

It is not legal to hunt for deer in many states when the hunting season is not open. People that reside near the deer population and have dogs must be careful not to violate this law. If you have a dog, you are responsible for its actions. Sometimes dogs wander off and roam around, which leads to them harassing other animals in the surrounding like deer. 

Should your dog chase, harm, or kill a deer when it is not hunting season, the dog owner can be charged with an infraction and fined a fee.  

Letting your dog run loose attracts other ordinances that may carry even strict and harsh penalties. It is not worth the problem, and keeping your dog in check is the easiest way out. 


As we continue to develop home sites in prime winter ranges, the problem intensifies. The same features we like for our home sites, such as sunny southern exposures at the base of mountain sides with numerous trees and shrubs, are the same components necessary for good deer winter range. Please keep your dog confined to give deer a chance in already tough winter conditions. All dog owners have a responsibility to keep their dog(s) out of situations where their instincts to chase deer may result in the dog’s death or the death of a deer.

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