“Protecting Your Hunting Buddy”
Keeping Hunting Dogs Healthy and Safe
Frick Veterinary Services
By Dr. Christina Frick, DVM
Fall is an exciting time for our area hunters and their hunting dogs. Remember the number one rule is safety for all. Here are some tips for your hunting companion.
Get your dog prepared for the hunting season. Start exercising slowly and building up to the miles they may run in the fields. Remember there are many hazards in the field. If they are not in shape, it will be hard on the dog’s body or the dog may be injured in the field on opening day. Also remember your faithful retriever hunts just as hard as you. An injury would put an early end to the season for your hunting companion.
Always provide water to your dogs on breaks and long days of hunting. Remember in Kansas we can have hot or cold days. Keep fresh cold water in jugs during heat or protect from freezing on colder fall days. Replenish nutrients at the end of the day with the food your dog is used to eating. Many dogs are started on a better quality food or special performance food prior to hunting season. Frick Vet Services offers these diets.
Heat Stress or Cold Stress can be a problem for animals when they are not adjusted to the weather changes. Watch for signs of excessive panting and salivation, staring, failure to respond to commands, fatigue, muscular weakness or collapse.
Provide your dog with a protective orange vest, collars, etc. This will assist in knowing where your dog is at in the field and no one will accidentally shoot them. Vests are available uninsulated, insulated and are available with floatation foam that helps your dog stay afloat in the ice cold water or for those extra long water retrieves. Use a crate or dog kennel when transporting your dog to the field. A kennel protects your dog from wind, snow, rain and cold even when transporting dogs in an open truck on cold wintery days. Kennels will also avoid the possibility of dangerous distractions of your dog jumping out of your truck.
Hunting with a good dog is especially rewarding, and many hunters are very fond of their dogs. Never scold or punish another person’s dog and don’t allow yours to ruin the hunt. Training requires patience and special knowledge. A dog that is treated as a friend will be eager to please their master in the hunting field.
Make sure your dog has an identification collar or tags, micro chipped, or permanent tattoo. Someone will be able to return your dog if they were lost in the field. Frick Vet Services offers micro chipping as a permanent identification. Dr. Frick will also scan lost dogs for a microchip to help the animals reconnect with their owners.
During the day examine your dog for lacerations on their body that may need to be sutured by a veterinarian. Common lacerations on the pads of the feet or body are from barbwire fences, metal, or sticks the dog may come in contact with in the field. Monitor walking and running gaits for any limping or pain. If there is a problem, rest the dog and let a vet examine the legs. Another thing to look for is cheat/ grass seeds that are embedded in the dog’s hair, between paws and in the ears. Cheat has been a big problem for dogs this year in our area.
Kansas has had a mild fall and fleas are still bugging many of the dogs. Continue your dogs on Flea and Tick Preventative and Heartworm preventative. Make sure all your dogs are current on vaccinations and deworming. Your dogs will be exposed to wildlife that may be carrying parasites and diseases. There are many parasites on the field grounds your hunting companion may pick up. Monitor your dog in the field for eating dead, decaying animals. This can make a dog very sick with vomiting and diarrhea.
Dr. Frick with Frick Veterinary Services offers 24 EMERGENCY CARE, CLINIC APPOINTMENTS AND MOBILE SERVICES right to the field. Dr. Frick has a full service clinic and products to help any hunting dog for the upcoming season. Have a safe enjoyable hunting season and happy hunting.