Preparing Your Dog for Hunting SeasonLast updated: August 02, 2016
Hunting dogs are some of the best athletes we see. They must move over rough terrain, running a marathon and picking up the smell of birds. Their ability to lock onto a bird scent while running at near full speed and staying still enough for the hunting partner to catch up is amazing. You need to protect your investment in your hunting dog by protecting them during hunting season.
Kennel Cough VaccineHunting dogs are often asked to hunt with dogs they do not know, which can expose them to bugs they are not immune to. Most of these issues can be handled if we vaccinate them against Kennel Cough. You want to keep your dog's immunity high for Kennel Cough because a dog with Kennel Cough cannot smell and will not hunt! This disease runs its course in three weeks. If Kennel Cough happens during the time you took vacation – you're hunting alone.
Give an intranasal Kennel Cough vaccine booster two to four weeks before hunting season. Immunity will be high and resistance at its best when you hunt! Just drip the vaccine in the nostril, and your dog will do the rest. While you're protecting your dog, vaccinate with a 7-way vaccine, such as Nobivac Canine 1-DAPPvL2, at the same time to get immunity high. Your dog will drink from water pools in the field and may get Lepto from those pools – not an issue if vaccinated!
Hunting Dog HypoglycemiaGet your dog ready for a marathon! We ask them to hunt all morning, and then they have to run a marathon again in the afternoon. Most owners do well at getting their dogs in shape, but we still run into dogs that literally run "out of gas." They won't quit, causing them to run out of glucose. Dogs begin to stagger, then have seizures as the brain only runs on glucose. If we are not careful, they will overheat and die!
The method of prevention is easy. Call your dog in occasionally and give him a high energy treat. Forti Cal™ soft chews will solve energy shortages. Whenever they retrieve or you call them in to keep them hunting close, give them Forti Cal™ soft chews to boost their energy. The treat will make them anxious to recall, and the carbohydrate will help the body utilize fat stores to make glucose. You essentially catch them up on energy if they are running off too much glucose too quickly.
Emergencies HappenEmergencies happen to all of us, so it is crucial to have an emergency kit in the hunting vehicle. A cut from moving quickly through fences or over brush is common. Bind wounds with Co-Flex wrap. Co-Flex sticks only to itself and applies pressure until the bleeding stops. When the bleeding stops (approximately 10 minutes), apply Triple Antibiotic Ointment, cover with 3 x 3 gauze pads and rewrap again. This Co-Flex field dressing will prevent infection until other care can be given.
Barbed wire can cause gaping wounds on the chest. These wounds cannot be wrapped as there is nothing to wrap around! Chest skin wounds are tears and little bleeding is seen. Skin Staples can be used to close the tears until we can get care. Put triple antibiotic ointment on the wound and pull the skin together with your fingers or a tweezers. Place a skin staple across the two halves of skin to cover the wound until veterinary care can be given. Covering wounds when they happen keeps them clean until we get out of the field.
After the HuntAfter the hunting season is over, eliminate intestinal parasites before they pull your dog down. Raccoon roundworm has been an increasing problem. It is bigger than the canine roundworm and thrives in the dog. We don't need to diagnose this; just deworm with Panacur® C and prevent the issue from ever emerging. Panacur® C will also get a majority of other parasites your dog could pick up. Don't wait to see if the issue arises several months later; simply deworm when the season is over!
Hunting is a great hobby but our dogs require investments of time and money. A bit of planning and care in the field will protect your hunting dog and make this season the experience you hope for!
If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.
Donald Bramlage, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Former Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
Donald Bramlage, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, practiced veterinary medicine for 30+ years and is known for his work in managing parvovirus. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 1985. He served as Revival's Director of Veterinary Services from 2011 until his retirement in 2019.
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.