The hunting seasons for bear, crow, mourning dove, and snipe began a few weeks ago on September 1, and several other short hunting seasons start in October and November. This is great news for hunters who have waited months for their chance to get back to the woods. Many people bring their hunting dogs along to help them find and retrieve prey. No matter when or what you plan to hunt, it’s a good idea to review these safety tips for your dog.
Hunting Dog Safety Tips
You, your dog, and every member of your hunting party should wear a blaze orange safety vest whenever you’re hunting. The color is bright enough that other hunters can see your party at a distance. If a bullet hits your dog or she gets caught on barbed wire, a fitted vest helps to keep her internal organs from serious harm. Since the Pet Poison Helpline receives hundreds of calls every hunting season, it also recommends the tips below.
Be sure that you bring clean bottled water and allow your dog to drink frequently. Heat stroke remains a concern, even though temperatures are lower than in the summer. If your dog seems to pant frequently, it could indicate that he’s becoming dehydrated and needs to take a break. Don’t allow your dog to drink pond water as it could contain toxic blue-green algae. A dog may have immediate weakness and seizures or even die from drinking contaminated water.
Your dog should not chew on clay pigeons due to toxic ingredients like coal tar, copper, nickel, lead, and zinc. If ingested, these substances may cause your dog to suffer brain, liver, or kidney damage. It’s also important to keep your dog away from mushrooms. It’s true that most are fine to eat, but it can be difficult to distinguish safe from unsafe mushrooms. If your dog does eat a poisonous one, she could develop tremors, severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.
We recommend taking extra time to work with your dog before hunting season so you feel confident he will come when you call him. The excitement of chasing after birds or other live animals may tempt him to dart away from you, which could cause him to get lost or injured. If you have any concerns about losing your dog in the woods, consider investing in obedience classes.
Make sure that your dog has proper identification. Her tag and collar could easily slip off and no one would be able to identify her. With a microchip, anyone who finds your dog can take her to a shelter or veterinary clinic where an employee can scan for identification.
If a bullet does graze or strike your dog, don’t hesitate in seeking immediate help. Bullet fragments can cause lead poisoning when left inside the body for too long. If you’re hunting out of the area, make sure you look up a list of local veterinary clinics before you leave.
Make Sure Your Dog is Ready for Hunting
If your dog hasn’t had a preventive care exam in the last six months, we recommend scheduling one before you go hunting. This ensures that he’s up-to-date on shots and physically ready for the demands. Be safe and good luck out there!
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