Hunting With Man’s Best Friend by Your Side

How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Healthy on the Trail

Stocking up on the right gear for this hunting season is a priority for most hunters. This means being prepared ahead of time and having everything ready for opening day. All while the faithful hunting companion resides diligently, anticipating the hunt too.

If this is your idea of the perfect excursion, make sure your canine companion is prepared for a trek in the field and woods. For all dog breeds, make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations as well as heartworm and flea and tick prevention methods. Checking them carefully for ticks after each outing is crucial as well.

Here are some popular hunting breeds and tips on keeping them safe and healthy on the trail.

Common Health Concerns With Beagles

For those lucky enough to have a beagle accompany them on their next hunting mission, they are in for a real treat. A devoted canine pup, the beagle is a true scent hound that loves to go after small game like rabbits, game birds and foxes. Beagles are prone to certain diseases like:

  • Diabetes
  • Chinese Beagle Syndrome
  • Dwarfism

The breed is often associated with eye conditions such as glaucoma, cherry eye and distichiasis. Yeast infections are also common — so keeping ears dry and clean is a must!

Regular vet check-ups can help identify these issues early on so they can be treated and prevent further issues especially when they are outside or hunting through the field.

Pointers and Twisted Stomachs

There are many varieties of pointers, but one thing’s for sure: they love to hunt! They are a true bird dog that lives for their master and retrieving their prey as diligently as possible. Pointers are resilient to heat and humidity, making them a good dog when hunting on a warm day.

One problem with pointers and other large-chested dogs is a life-threatening condition called gastric torsion. It occurs when a dog eats or drinks rapidly and does not rest properly afterward. This leads to gas buildup which can contort the intestinal tract, leading to blockage. Be sure to allow your pointer to rest adequately after eating or drinking before engaging in a hunt.

Bluetick Coonhounds and Exhaustion

A true scent hound, the bluetick coon lives for the hunt. So much so they may overwork themselves just to please their owner. Whether it’s a bluetick or any hunting canine buddy, watch closely for signs of exhaustion.

Warm conditions, distant hunting sites and rugged terrain are hard on a dog’s cardiovascular system. Give them frequent breaks, keep them hydrated and offer plenty of rest between kills.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Water Safety

The chessie, an athletic gun dog, loves to go after duck and other game, especially in or near the water. This can pose its own canine health hazards. Keep a close eye on what they consume when in or around creeks, ponds and lakes. Drinking water can lead to giardia, a nasty parasite that can be deadly to dogs. Be sure to check for any posted issues regarding algae in the water as well as some kinds can be fatal to dogs as well.

Sometimes retrievers can also inhale or eat grass when capturing their kill. Grass can be harmful especially if it contains seeds or sharp barbs that can unknowingly create thoracic cavity trauma.

Staying hydrated, checking paws on the trail and routine vet visits are something that should be done to ensure a hunting pup is healthy and happy. After all, they not only help complete the hunting experience, they’re also your best friend.

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