BearWise #4

Never Leave

Pet Food Out

Feed outdoor pets portion sizes that will be completely eaten during each meal or remove leftover food. Securely store these foods so nothing is available to bears.

Never leave food out for stray dogs and cats.

The food we give to our pets and livestock is rich in fat and protein, and this makes pet food extremely attractive to bears.

Care for dogs & cats: How to feed them

  • If possible, feed your dogs and cats indoors.
  • Feed outdoor pets amounts that will be completely eaten during each meal. Make sure the area is clean after each feeding. Bring the bowls in at night so there is no uneaten food left outside.
  • Store pet food so that nothing is available to bears, either in a secure building or a secure container.

How to store pet food

Sacks of pet food are vulnerable to bears. A bear can drag pet food sacks off of your property to consume it, or it may create a mess on your porch or in your shed while it searches for pet food. You can keep black bears out of your pet food by storing it in a screw top container or other bear-resistant storage. The BearWise Bear-Resistant Container List offers a list of  secure container brands and vendors available for purchase.

A container with a screw-on lid will keep bears out of pet or livestock food that has to be stored outdoors.

Care for chickens

As backyard chickens have become more popular, chickens and chicken feed have quickly become a major attractant for bears. Unsecured chicken coops lead to conflicts, resulting in property damage and bears having to be killed, because of their craving for chickens and chicken feed.

  • Use a Bear-Resistant Container for Chicken Feed: Store your chicken feed in a bear-resistant container. There are some preferred bear-resistant containers that you can purchase or make on your own. For bear-resistant storage options, see Keep Bears Out and BearWise Basic #2 Secure food, garbage, & recycling.
  • Install electric fencing: If you choose to raise chickens in bear country, the best option is to install a bear-resistant electric fencefor your chickens. Electric fencing is a cost effective and highly adaptable way to protect your chickens and minimize conflicts with a variety of wildlife species that might raid your coop. Click here for more information on electric fencing.

Bear predation on unsecure chicken pen


Electric fenced chicken pen

Care for Livestock

This shed with its secure windows and bear-resistant door handle is safe from black bears.

Livestock feed is especially attractive to bears.Visit Livestock and Crops and Keep Bears Out for bear-resistant storage options.

  • Store all feed in containers with locked or screwed down lids. There are some bear-resistant containers that you can purchase.
  • Another option is to store feed inside a secure building, garage or shed.
  • As with small livestock, electric fences deter black bears from feed and predation.