Whether it’s flushing quail in the field or simply scouting new land, our dogs love to be with us and are certainly happy to be on the move. But with this comes the various hazards that dogs face. Be sure to understand the more common injuries and how to take care of them.
One of the best ways of preventing injuries to dogs’ muscles, ligaments and tendons is to make sure your animal is properly conditioned and trained in the time leading up to hunting season. Overweight dogs are putting more stress on their joints as they run through the brush, jump over fallen trees, or swim to get that bird. Unconditioned dogs are likely to fatigue faster, which may compromise their safety by forcing them to be off their guard when performing. A dog not properly trained to commands, or who is unfamiliar with obstacles and running in brush is more likely to be injured in the field.
If your dog should suddenly begin walking on only three legs, first check to be sure the pads of the paw are not cut or embedded with a foreign object. If this is not the case, the dog may have an orthopedic injury. At this point, it would be best to calm him down, let him rest for a few minutes and see if the injury is still apparent. If the dog is still protecting that leg, it’s time to get him to a vet, ideally again, without making the dog walk.
Overheating & Dehydration
Even in winter, hunting dogs can get overheated. Take regular breaks to let the dog rest, and supply fresh water for your companion. One of the more common conditions vets see are cases of gastrointestinal distress, caused by something the dog ate or drank in the field. Keep in mind that in the excitement of the hunt, most dogs won’t stop working and hunting until they’re extremely dehydrated or overheated. By then, it could be at a dangerous level.
Be Prepared in the Field
As with humans, use direct pressure to stop bleeding. Removing a bandage too many times can damage clots that are forming, causing further bleeding. A commercially available clotting product can be used in more extreme circumstances.