Hot Weather and Your Hunting Dog

You’ve been marking your desk calendar every day in anticipation. It’s now starting to get warm outside. And in most places around America that means it’s time to get the gun out of storage, give it a good cleaning. Start chumming-up with the retriever.

Bird season is just a few days away.

We’ve checked, and the myth that there’s a button right under the dog’s chin that you can press to automatically cool the mutt down doesn’t appear in any of the latest models of mutts. Congress outlawed the devices back in the ‘40’s.

You need to prepare your hunting buddy for the heat that’s coming when the two of you head to the great outdoors.

There are no Hoses in the Woods

That device you bought thinking you could screw it into a faucet on a nearby tree is about as real as the chin button. You need to be prepared so the canine’s radiator doesn’t burst when you’re in the thick of the hunt. Any temperatures above 60-degrees will cause steam to shoot from your gun dog’s ears.

What can you do? Imagine that you’re once again a Boy Scout and “Be prepared.”

  • When a dog is getting stressed-out by all the heat it’s obviously going to pant. But keep a sharp-eye out for some other symptoms. If they start to ignore your requests, fall down and can’t get up immediately, trip around like they just killed-off a pint of Jack: That’s your sign to take a break and rehydrate your partner.
  • You feel breeze on your face. But unless you have a mutt that walks on two legs and is about as tall as Dennis Rodman, down at their level … what breeze? Don’t assume the winds of change blow at all elevations.
  • Stop at the local convenience store and get a bag of ice for the dog’s crate. Punch a hole-or-two in the bag so water will escape for drinking and rolling around in.
  • Purchase a couple of bottles of a dog-only product that’s sort of like Gatorade for pups.
  • When you plan to hunt, get to it. Don’t laze around until 10 am to get started. The ideal time for both you and the gun dog is just before sunrise. And fold-up your tent before noon. It’s too hot for both of you after that.
  • If the pup is heat stressed, try to get it to slurp down some water. Don’t force things, though. Take a couple of handfuls of H2O and splash their groin, ears (but don’t get any liquid in their hearing canals), belly, neck and back. Massage the water into the hair so it reaches the poor thing’s skin.
  • Consider forgetting the crate on the trip home. Get an old blanket and let ‘em sit shotgun with the air conditioning blowing in their general direction.
  • A severely heat stressed dog needs to be taken to the vet ASAP. You’ve invested too much love, time and money to have the dog suffer the paces you have put it through.
  • Get a gallon jug of water to keep nearby. Don’t forget a little bowl. Dogs don’t drink Pepsi in a bottle because of their snout. They end up getting a beverage-sticky bib. Also, go to your local Army surplus store and grab a canteen so you can always have a ready supply of liquid as you venture deep into the woods.
  • Right after they hop from the crate, flush them down with some regular tap water in a jug. If you’re not going to let them ride shotgun on the trip back home, do the same thing before you re-crate them. Remember, massage the liquid into their fur.
  • Unless you hunt near a crystal clear stream, probably not a good idea to let the mutt suck-up a cup from a so-called natural supply of water. Better than average possibility that there’s some kind of microorganism or farm chemicals that have seeped into the fluid. Bad thing to allow nature to poison your pup.