If you're hoping to bring your dog hunting with you this season, it's important that your dog gets the right equipment, apparel, and training. Not only does proper training and supplies increase the chances that you'll have success on your trip, but being prepared will also mean that your dog will be more safe during the dangers of the hunt.
Here are some canine safety tips to keep in mind as you get ready for this year's hunting season.
Outfit your dog in the right clothing.
You might pick your favorite camouflage outfit for the hunting trip, but camouflage is not right for hunting dogs. Other hunters need to see your dog and know that they are part of another hunting party. Your dog should wear a bright orange vest with strong clips to make sure the vest is not torn off during a run.
Keep your dog leashed.
As you hit the wilderness, your dog plays a key purpose. If your dog has a job, like scouting out birds or treeing raccoons, this job should be performed only at your command. Until then, your dogs should remain with you on the leash. If your dog is not a hunting companion but simply a pet, never allow the animal off the leash in areas where hunting is authorized. Not only could your dog get hit with a stray bullet, but dogs can interfere with other people's hunts, scattering deer, sheep, and birds.
Do not allow your dog to eat kills.
If you do some field dressing of larger animals, dogs can become interested in the "leavings" -- larger bones, pieces of skin, and other remains. Train your dog never to eat anything that they might find on the hunt. While the fresh meat of an animal may be harmless, dogs are natural scavengers, and if they find an older carcass they might eat a portion if they have not received consistent training. Older, strange meats can be diseased or poisoned and will make your dog ill.
Also, if you train your dog not to eat anything except food you provide, you can save your dog from eating things like mushrooms, pieces of clay pigeons, or even harmful herbs that could potentially poison them.
Provide for basic needs.
In areas where the dog is working the hunt (running point for duck or pheasant hunting, for example) they can tire easily. Be sure, especially on hot days, to provide opportunities for rest, and do not forget to bring plenty of water to help your dog stay hydrated during the long days of work. Dogs can even become dehydrated when hunting in the cold fall or the winter time. Many people tend to forget
If you don't provide water for your dog, they can end up drinking water from natural sources, like ponds or streams. These water sources can be contaminated with blue green algae, which is deadly to dogs. Treatment is unsuccessful in many cases, so it's essential you avoid any water that looks less than fresh. Providing water is the only way to make sure your dog is getting hydrated with liquid that is completely free of toxins.
Seek veterinary care for wounds.
Even with great care, some dogs still experience wounds while on the hunt. If your dog is shot, even superficially, it is important to get the animal to a vet as soon as possible. Lead from buckshot, for example, can remain in the flesh and start to cause immediate lead poisoning, which is deadly for your dog.
For more information on the safety supplies you need, contact a hunting supply store like Lion Country Supply.