Using Chainsaws Safely Around Dogs And Other Pets

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Should you use your chainsaw around dogs and other pets?

My dog is beside me no matter what I’m trying to do, including 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!

The first chainsaw to be invented would have been fine because it didn’t have an engine, but I’m using my Husqvarna 450 Rancher, which is reasonably powerful and very noisy.

Is this OK? How should we deal with our dogs and pets around chainsaws? Let’s take a look.

Chainsaws And Dogs

lab german shepherd hearing protection

Pictured above is my dog Bingo. He’s a 5-month-old Lab/German Shepherd cross.

He has no concerns about chainsaws, so I have to lock him up when 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. He disappears when I’m mowing the lawn, but he has to be right there when I’m using 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 with a dog who likes to be around a roaring chainsaw!

chainsaw pet safety


dog hearing chainsaws

However, it’s good to hear there are some sensible dogs out there:

small engines and pet safety

Well-trained dogs might 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.

Even a mini chainsaw can be too loud for them to be around.

Pets And Chainsaw Safety

The number one comment I got on my thread on dogs and chainsaws was about distractions, and I 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 by 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

It’s best to keep dogs away because they can be a major distraction.

That is the best way to avoid an accident or injury from being distracted by a dog.

Dogs And Hearing Loss

Like us, dogs can experience hearing loss by being exposed to loud noises.

You can work safely with chainsaws around bees because they can’t hear, but dogs are 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 examined 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 more information on this topic.

Either way, it is best to keep dogs away from the noise that a chainsaw can produce.

Pet Chainsaw Safety

Chainsaw safety dogs pets

Ultimately, having an animal around while working with a chainsaw is not worth it.

Cats and other small pets are not likely to stick around.

When working in farmland around sheep, horses, and cows, these animals tend to go in the opposite direction.

Only the dogs can be a problem – they are too faithful and friendly for their own good!

Keep your pet locked up in a kennel or 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 safely using and maintaining a chainsaw.

For more pet content, find out how close you can put a fish tank to a fireplace!


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