Fall has officially arrived, and for millions of Michiganders thoughts turn to hunting. Enjoying the thrill of the hunt while taking in the gorgeous woods and fields is one of the best parts about hunting in Michigan. Sharing the experience with your hunting dog only adds to the enjoyment, both for you and your pet.
Hunting gear for dogs has become a big industry, and there are more options than ever before when it comes to providing your dog with the items he or she needs to stay safe while on the hunt. Whether you are an old hat when it comes to hunting with dogs, or this is your first season taking a dog out, it never hurts to review the safety basics.
Hunting Gear for Dogs
Ensuring that your four-legged companion enjoys the hunt as much as you do means gathering up the proper hunting gear for dogs:
Preparation – Hunger or dehydration will not only prevent your dog from effectively hunting, dehydration can be dangerous. Always bring plenty of food and fresh drinking water for your dog while on the hunt.
Visibility – Don’t let your pet be mistaken for game. Make sure that he or she is wearing a “hunter orange” vest and reflective collar at all times.
Protection – Temperatures drop as the season goes on, and hypothermia can become a risk for your dog, especially if he or she gets wet. Consider providing blankets and a warm, dry place for your dog to rest. For rough terrain, make sure to protect your dog’s feet with fitted boots, and outfit him or her in a vest to protect against injuries from brush and barbed wire.
Safety – Make sure your pet is always wearing a collar with ID tags (which can be riveted to a collar, if noise is a concern), and that the information on his or her microchip is registered and current. Bring your pet in for a wellness checkup prior to your first hunt to ensure that he or she is up-to-date on all vaccines and parasite preventatives.
On the Road
Planning for an extended hunting trip includes figuring out what to bring to keep your dog safe and comfortable. Consider the following when packing for your dog:
- Pack extra dog food, water, and any medications your dog may be on, just in case you wind up staying out longer than you had anticipated.
- If you are using electronic devices, such as a tracking collar or other GPS device, be sure to bring along extra batteries/chargers, as well as the instruction manual, just in case.
- Make a point to have the phone numbers of several local veterinarians in the area where you will be hunting. Knowing where to turn in a pet emergency can save valuable time and energy.
- Print out a few “lost dog” fliers with your dog’s picture and your contact information to bring with you. No one wants to think about his or her dog going missing, but accidents do happen, and having signs on hand to put up if needed will increase your chances of being reunited quickly.