Video shows why you should never, ever let your dog off the leash near bison

Bison at Yellowstone National Park
(Image credit: Getty)

A dog-owner visiting Grand Teton National Park nearly learned a very tough lesson about wildlife safety after letting their pet off its leash near a herd of bison. A video recorded by another park visitor (which you can watch below) shows the two animals facing off against one another. The bison is very agitated by the curious dog, flicking its tail and kicking up clouds of dust, but luckily for the pet and its owner, it only makes a bluff charge to force the animal back.

Many wild animals, including elk, moose and bison, usually treat domestic dogs the same way as wolves, and will attack and try to trample them. These animals rarely attack humans, and if they do, it is often a result of them being spooked by a dog.

Pets are allowed in Grand Teton National Park, but there are strict rules to ensure they and the local wildlife are kept safe. They must be restrained at all times, and are not permitted inside facilities like visitor centers, or on trails.

"A good rule of thumb is that a pet may go anywhere a car may go: roads and road shoulders, campgrounds and picnic areas, parking lots, etc," advises the National Park Service (NPS). "Pets must be on a leash (six feet or less), under physical restraint, and within 30 feet of the roadway. Pets are not permitted on any park trails or in the backcountry."

Pets are not considered pack animals, so you can't load your four-legged companion up with a doggie backpack to carry your hiking gear. For a full list of rules and restrictions, take a look at the official Grand Teton National Park website.

Qualified service animals are allowed throughout the park, but must also be kept on a leash. People with service animals are asked to complete a service animal acknowledgement form at a visitor center when they arrive. Check out the full guidance for service animals.

If you're planning a hiking trip with your dog, there are many National Parks that are better suited. Our roundup of the 8 best National Parks for dogs has some great suggestions where pets are welcome to join your adventures.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.