The days are becoming shorter and the air is a little more crisp as fall sets in, and with that comes a season many people and furry friends alike look forward to – hunting season! Before hitting the great outdoors, make sure your hunting dog is prepared for the rigors of hunting season with these tips.
Hunting dogs sometimes have it harder than your average canine pet. From less than ideal forecasts to rugged terrain when retrieving game, it can be a very physical job to carry out. Don’t put your companion’s endurance to the test on opening day; start an exercise regimen early enough that your hunting buddy is in shape and ready for long days of walking.
Your dog’s diet should also be adjusted, based on their activity level. Just like humans, an increase in physical activity calls for an adjustment in calorie intake. Hunting dogs require extra attention to their diet, since being either overweight or underfed can lead to serious issues during the season. Talk to your veterinarian about recommended exercise and diet regimens to fit your unique hunting dog’s situation.
Hunting usually means treks through long grass and wet sloughs for your canine companion. With that in mind, flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives are imperative, because those diseases could be debilitating to your hunting dog. If you will be in heavily wooded areas, you will also want to do a Lyme disease vaccination, since that’s more prevalent in these types of areas.
Just like you, your hunting dog needs a few extra pieces of equipment to keep them safe and happy. Your gear list should include a blaze orange vest and a reflective breakaway collar with ID tag, to make sure your canine is easy to see and to prevent accidents while they are retrieving. You will also want to keep a pet emergency first aid kit in your vehicle or other easily accessible area, and be sure to bring fresh water for your dog while you’re out in the field.
Breakaway collars are recommended while hunting so your dog will not become injured if they get caught up in any of the terrain while retrieving, but this also means that they will not have identification if that happens. It is highly recommended to microchip your hunting dog beforehand to help them come back safely to you in case the unexpected happens.
Before the hunting season starts, a trip to the vet is in order. Not only will your veterinarian perform a physical checkup and vaccinate your dog, they can also give you advice on how to best care for the unique needs of your hunting dog, and recommend products and methods that will help you all stay happy and healthy. You will also want to take the time to research the closest veterinary hospital to the area you will be hunting — especially in rural areas, which don’t always have veterinary clinics in each town. Have their contact information on hand in case your dog becomes injured or there is another emergency while you are hunting.
Now is the time to get your hunting dog in tip-top shape before the season begins, so your only worries will be hunting game, making memories, and having fun. Contact us today to help you along the way!