Hunting Safety

Hunting Dog Portrait

With the leaves changing and the temperature dropping, the fall season is prime time for those high energetic hunting dogs. It is a time of year hunters always look forward to. Much of the joy of the hunting season comes from the time we 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. The Labrador Retriever is bred for flushing birds and retrieving the bird to the hunter's hand. They are also great for duck hunting and love the water! 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 out, and once shot, the dog is commanded to fetch and retrieve the bird to hand. Watching these dogs in action is quite remarkable!

Hunting Dog And Birds

Caring for these canine athletes is extremely important as they work very hard during hunting season. The energy that they use needs to be replenished through proper diet and exercise. It is important to prepare these dogs in advance so they have the necessary stamina once the season begins. Hunters train and work with their dogs in the field and they also work with trainers in the months prior to fall. Conditioning your dog and getting them in shape ahead of time helps decreases the likelihood of injury which could end a promising hunting season.

The correct diet is paramount as these dogs burn many calories in the field and need the extra nutrition. There are numerous diets available and your veterinarian can help you find the right one for your dog. Many of these diets have a higher calorie content for energy and higher ratio of protein to fat. Hunters may also increase the amount of food they feed or switch to a special food while in the field. With the extra energy of the food, hunting dogs will excel in the field. Using a proper diet not only helps with endurance, but also with mobility and general health of the hunting dog.

Hunting Dog Portrait

First aid kits are a must-have for every hunter and their dog. Hunting dogs are prone to many dangers in the field such as barbed wire fences, skunks, and bees. Make sure to take along any special medications your dog may be on, as well as eye and ear rinse, gauze for wrapping, and scissors. Keeping your dog's nails short will also help prevent lameness due to torn nails. Hunters should speak to their veterinarians about bringing antibiotics for infections, anti-inflammatory medications for possible injuries, anti-histamines for allergic reactions, and topical antibiotics for nicks and scratches. In some areas, anti-venom may be a wise choice for those dogs sharing the field with rattle snakes!

Hunters should also discuss proper parasite, flea, and tick preventative with their veterinarian. Dogs in the field are at a higher risk for these things and should be protected before heading out for a trip. At Hudson Road Animal Hospital, we can help you create a check list to use to be sure your dog is ready, and their first aid kit is fully stocked.

With the proper preparation and training, hunters and their dogs can enjoy this season safely.

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