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Preparing Your Dog for Hunting Season

Hunting dogs are incredible athletes, navigating rough terrain, running long distances, and picking up bird scents. Their ability to lock onto a bird scent while running at near full speed and then staying still for the hunter to catch up is truly impressive. To protect your investment in your hunting dog and ensure their health during hunting season, it's important to take specific precautions. Here’s a guide to keeping your hunting dog healthy and ready for action:

Vaccination for Kennel Cough

Hunting dogs often work alongside unfamiliar dogs, exposing them to new illnesses. One of the most common issues is Kennel Cough, which can significantly impair a dog's ability to hunt. A dog with Kennel Cough cannot smell properly and will be sidelined for about three weeks.

To prevent this, give your hunting dog an intranasal Kennel Cough vaccine booster two to four weeks before hunting season. This ensures high immunity and resistance during your hunts. Administer the vaccine by dripping it into the dog's nostril. Additionally, vaccinate against other diseases, such as Leptospirosis, which can be contracted from drinking contaminated water in the field.

Managing Hypoglycemia: Boosting Your Dog's Energy

Hunting dogs need to maintain high energy levels, as they often work all morning and afternoon. However, some dogs can run out of glucose, leading to hypoglycemia, which can cause staggering, seizures, and even overheating.

To prevent this, provide your dog with high-energy treats during breaks. These treats boost energy levels and help the body utilize fat stores to produce glucose. Call your dog in periodically during hunts to give them an energy boost and keep them running efficiently.

Essential First Aid Kit for Hunting Dogs

Emergencies can happen during hunts, so it’s crucial to have a well-stocked first aid kit in your hunting vehicle. Here are some essential items to include:

  • Co-Flex Wrap: Useful for binding wounds quickly. Co-Flex only sticks to itself and can apply pressure to stop bleeding.

  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment: Apply this to wounds before dressing to prevent infection.

  • Gauze Pads (3 x 3): Use these to cover wounds after applying antibiotic ointment.

  • Skin Staples: For closing gaping wounds, particularly on the chest, where wrapping is not feasible. Use a tweezers to pull the skin together and apply the staples to cover the wound until you can get veterinary care.

Deworming After Hunting Season

After the hunting season, it’s important to eliminate any intestinal parasites that your dog may have picked up. Raccoon roundworm, in particular, has become a growing concern. Deworm your dog with a broad-spectrum dewormer to ensure they are free of parasites. This preventive measure keeps your dog healthy and ready for the next hunting season.

For more tips and resources on preparing your dog for hunting season, visit

man hunting with brown merle dog
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