Hunting Safety Tips
With the leaves changing and the temperature dropping, the fall season is prime time for those high endurance and energetic hunting dogs! It is a time of year many hunters look forward to and train for throughout the spring and summer.
One of the best things about the hunting season is the time we can spend working with our dogs in the field and watching them excel at what they were bred to do.
Each breed of dog is bred for a specific style of hunting. For example, the Labrador Retriever is bred for flushing birds and then retrieving the bird to the hunter's hand. They also love the water and are great for duck hunting.
Pointing breeds, such as Vizslas, German Shorthair Pointers, and English Setters, are meant to track the bird, hold point (literally pointing the bird out to the hunter) so the hunter can flush the bird, and once shot, give the command to the dog to fetch and retrieve the bird to hand. Watching these dogs in action is quite remarkable!
It is important to prepare these dogs in advance for the stamina and endurance necessary for the season. This training will also decrease the likelihood of injury that may end a promising hunting season.
Diet is important as these dogs burn many calories in the field and need extra nutrition. Many of these diets have a higher calorie count for energy.
It may also be necessary to increase the amount you feed your dog during this season. There are many choices available and your veterinarian can help you find the right one for your dog. With the extra energy hunting dogs will expel in the field, proper diet will help not only with endurance, but also mobility and general health.
First aids kits are a must-have for every hunter and their dog. Hunting dogs face many obstacles in the fields such as barbed wire fences, skunks, and bees. A well stocked first aid kit will help you care for your canine companion should they suffer any injuries in the field.
Your first aid kit should include things such as any medications your dog is currently on, eye and ear rinse, gauze for wrapping, and scissors. Hunters should speak to their veterinarian about bringing a supply of antibiotics for infections, anti-inflammatory medications for injuries, anti-histamines for allergic reactions, and topical antibiotics for cuts and scratches. It is also wise to carry anti-venom if your dog will be sharing the field with rattlesnakes.
Hunting vests are highly recommended for dogs as they plow through the field or forest. This will protect their chest should there be anything sticking out of the ground. It will also help with the wear on their chests as they run through the brush.
Before leaving, apply a veterinarian recommended flea and tick preventative, and trim your dogs nails to help prevent broken nails in the field.
Last, but not least, Health Certificates are required for any owner traveling out of state with their dog. Many states have specific requirements regarding vaccinations and our veterinarians would be happy to help you get your dog ready ahead of time. Because some states change their policies year to year it is important to check with your vet before each hunting season.
If you and your dog are heading out into the field this hunting season we encourage you to contact us to make sure your dog is fully prepared. With the proper preparations and training, hunters and their dogs can safely enjoy the season together. Have a safe hunt!