Hunting Dog Safety Tips
By: Ruben Sanchez
Hunting Dog Safety Tips
Dogs have long been called “man’s best friend” and just as we would with a best friend, we should go to lengths to take care of our hunting dogs too. They work tirelessly and eagerly alongside hunters for long periods of time, building trust and camaraderie. Without sufficient care, there are a number of dangers that can harm a dog in the wild. With a little effort, both you and your hunting dog can be safe and happy, ready to head out to the next hunt! This guide will help to introduce you to some of the dangers that dogs face in the wild, and how you can overcome it.
- Dogs on a Hunt – A few simple steps can help ensure your dog’s safety while hunting.
- Safety Tips for Your Dog – Read about keeping hunting dogs as well as dogs that are simply pets safe during the season. This guide also offers information on a first aid kit for dogs.
- Diseases – Humans and dogs alike can fall prone to several diseases while hunting in the wild.
Hunting dogs are typically used to track and sniff out prey, or to locate animals that have already been shot. Beyond this, they are also used to carry back the prey to the hunters. If you think about it, hunting dogs run a good deal through forested areas, in water, and even in muck. One of the first things to do ahead of hunting season is to take your dog to the vet for a general checkup. This is to ensure that the dog is healthy and fit enough to participate in the hunt. The vet should update the dog’s vaccinations, and also take preventative measures against fleas, ticks, and parasites. On the day of the hunt, keep the dog visible by attaching a blaze orange vest around its body, and a reflective collar around its neck. Dogs can easily get lost in the wilderness due to their natural coloration. Pack a basic first aid kid with you. It should contain items like surgical gauze, tweezers, antiseptic cream, cotton buds, and a compress. Since the dog will be running a lot, don’t feed it a heavy meal. The combination of a full meal and exercise could cause its stomach to flip, which would result in death in a matter of hours. Instead, give the dog a small snack, and keep some treats on hand to give out during the day. Do make sure that the dog has enough water so that it is not dehydrated. If you notice that it is overheated or exhausted, call a break so that everyone can have a breather. Watch out for anything the dog might try to lick or eat along the way. Still water tends to collect algae, which can be poisonous to dogs. Similarly, mushrooms and certain plants can also be toxic. The dog should be already fully trained in hunting so that it is not gun-shy. Take special care when aiming so that the dog isn’t accidently injured. Try also not to shoot right next to the dog since repeated firing can cause ear damage in dogs.
- Noise Trauma – Using shotguns close to hunting dogs can cause some degree of hearing loss over a period of time.
- General Safety for Hunting Dogs (PDF) – The tips outlined in this guide will help keep your dog safe and healthy during hunting season.
- Safety While Duck Hunting – Learn how keep your hunting dog safe in cold weather and watery areas.
- Dogs and Traps – Before setting out, you should know how to act if your hunting dog is stuck in an animal trap.
- On the Road – While traveling to a hunt location, these tips will keep the dog safe and comfortable in the vehicle as well as on the hunting grounds.
- Bird Dogs – Like the hunters, dogs should also wear blaze orange vests to prevent them from getting lost.
- Rabbit Hunting– Attaching a bell to the dog’s collar can further assist in locating it in the wild.
Even after the hunt, there are still a few things to do to ensure the dog’s health. Thoroughly inspect it for ticks, as well as thorns or other debris in the paws. Look within the paw pads as well as between the toes. Upon returning from the hunt, after the dog has calmed down, feed it a normal meal. If you are not sure what to look for, it is generally better to take the dog to the vet. On days when you are not hunting, make sure that the dog is still regularly exercised. Hunting dogs are extremely lively and can become bored and even quite destructive if they are left at home without some outlet for their energy.