With wintry conditions affecting much of the country, now is an appropriate time to think about caring for your gundog when heading afield. Dangers lurk everywhere for the lovable companions, so it’s up to you to identify and avoid situations that put them at unnecessary risk.
The dangers posed to dogs are myriad and therefore cannot be covered in a single article, but here are six of the biggies, courtesy of Purina Pro Plan.
Watch Out For Hidden Obstacles
Whether you opt to purchase dog boots or not, it’s important to be cautious about where your dogs are stepping. Many traumatic wounds can result from an unseen strand of barbed wire, trap, etc., and it only takes a few leaves or long blades of grass to conceal them. Avoid areas that are likely to hold rusty metal, shards of glass, and other manmade materials, and stop often to check your dog for injuries. The brief moments of respite will do you all good—and they may save you from losing your dog prematurely.
Watch Out For Foreign Objects
The second warning is much like the first. Be aware of any debris that can become lodged in your dog’s eyes, nose, mouth, etc. Even something as seemingly innocuous as a seed of grass can become problematic when your dog inhales it. Then there’s always the stick or briar in an eye to worry about.
Watch Out For Lameness
Your dog may be limping for reasons other than foot injuries. Poor flexibility, inadequate or no warm-ups, and a lack of conditioning can lead to lameness. Not training your dog enough or overworking it can both lead to injuries from repetitive stress, forceful contractions, and over-stretching of the tendons. If your dog begins walking stiffly or limping, they may be suffering from these effects.
Watch Out For Low Blood Sugar
Hypoglycemia can affect dogs as dramatically as humans. Thankfully, you can see the signs of depleted glucose stores coming. Be watchful for lethargy, staggering, muscle twitching, and incoordination in your canine, and if you spot the symptoms, stop the physical activity immediately and give them sugar water or another concentrated source of glucose, such as corn syrup. If the symptoms persist, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Watch Out For Extreme Temps
Right now it’s the cold; next week it could be the heat. Whatever region of the country you live in, your weather is as unpredictable as, well, the weather. Every dog’s temperature tolerance is unique to them, so take advantage of weather-appropriate gear to help protect them from the elements.
Watch Out For Dehydration
Water is a major concern even in the duck blind on a frigid day. Whatever the season and whatever the circumstances, keep as much fresh water handy as possible, and keep an eye out for dehydration at all times. To check to see if your dog is hydrated well enough, pull on the skin on his or her shoulder blades. If they are, the skin will snap back down immediately. If not, the skin may hang loose for a second or two—too long.
Have any tips or tricks for keeping your dogs safe while afield? Share them in the comment section below and it may appear on our Facebook page.