Should you use your chainsaw around dogs and other pets?
My dog is beside me no matter what I’m trying to do, and this includes using the chainsaw. The noise doesn’t seem to bother Bingo, the spinning chain spitting out sawdust is no problem, and the fumes and dust are all good, in his opinion!
But is this OK? How should we deal with our dogs and pets around chainsaws?
Chainsaws And Dogs
Pictured above is my dog Bingo. He’s a 5-month-old Lab/German Shepherd cross.
He has no concerns about chainsaws, so I now have to lock him up while using one.
It’s not that he’s ever been a problem, but his being 2 meters away is a possible distraction, and neither is it good for his health.
I would have thought he’d hate the sound. When I’m mowing the lawn, he disappears, but he has to be right there with a chainsaw.
I asked in the Stihl chainsaw FB group what other people’s dogs do when they start up the chainsaw.
It seems that I’m not the only one who has a dog that likes to be around a roaring chainsaw!
However, it’s good to hear there are some sensible dogs out there:
Well-trained dogs might be able to get away with being off a leash and nearby.
Even if they are not going to cause a distraction and have learned to stay well back (especially when felling trees), always remember their hearing,
Pets And Chainsaw Safety
The number one comment I got to my thread on dogs and chainsaws was about distractions, and I totally agree.
The main reason to keep your dog locked up and away while using a chainsaw is to avoid distractions.
Any number of things can cause a distraction when operating a chainsaw around dogs:
- they chase a small animal like a squirrel or cat
- some will try and fight or bite a chainsaw
- they startle you through coming from a blind spot
- distraction through wondering where they’ve disappeared
- trying to bite the wood, sticks, or bark that you’re working on
Because they can be a major distraction, it’s simply best to keep dogs away. That is the best way to avoid an accident or injury due to being distracted by a dog.
Dogs And Hearing Loss
Just like us, dogs can experience hearing loss through being exposed to loud noises.
You can work safely with chainsaws around bees because they can’t hear, but dogs are obviously a different beast altogether.
Some recent studies on working dogs have demonstrated to what extent dogs lose their hearing when exposed to loud noises.
One study looked at three dogs: a gundog, a sniffer dog, and a police dog.
It found that as with humans, ‘loud noises can harm the delicate structures of a dog’s middle and inner ear.’
Dr. Kari Foss states, “Most commonly, noise-induced hearing loss results from damage to the hair cells in the cochlea that vibrate in response to sound waves. However, extreme noise may also damage the eardrum and the small bones within the inner ear, called the ossicles.”
A chainsaw runs at about 106–115 decibels.
Noise above 70 decibels for a prolonged period can cause hearing loss. Anything over 120 decibels can cause immediate damage. It’s not hard to imagine some more powerful saws, such as logging chainsaws, can run at this level.
It’s difficult to know at what level hearing loss in dogs occurs, but we can assume it is similar to what we experience. This study on noise levels in dog kennels contains some more information on this topic.
Either way, it is best to keep dogs far away from the level of noise that a chainsaw can produce.
Pet Chainsaw Safety
Ultimately, it’s not worth it to have an animal around while working with a chainsaw.
Cats and other small pets are not likely to stick around. When working in farmland around sheep, horses, and cows, you’ll find these animals tend to go in the opposite direction.
It really is only the dogs that can be a problem – they are too faithful and friendly for their own good!
Keep your pet locked up in a kennel or in the truck while the chainsaw is running and be prepared for the unexpected.
Check out these chainsaw safety courses for more advice from the pros on how to safely use and maintain a chainsaw.