A well-trained retriever is a great partner for a duck-hunting companion. It is one of the best conservation tools you can take into the field. They can get all those cripples and find birds you never would. A duck dog will break through brush and go into freezing water with out battling an eye. Retrievers are very tough, courageous, and long to please. They are not a machine and not indestructible. Labradors, especially know nothing about pacing it self. It is our responsibility to monitor their activity level and take care of their safety and physical well being.
Make sure your companion is up to date on all vaccinations, Heartworm Prevention and intestinal parasite prevention. Also carry a dog emergency kit for cuts and scraps. Carry some dog treats to give your buddy to help keep energy levels high.
Your hunting companion needs a place where when wet it can get our of the wind and keep warm. It is essential to prevent hypothermia (low body temperature). The old wives tale that dogs don’t get cold is FALSE. Do not place your wet dog in the bottom of a cold metal boat without something to lie on. Dogs can get frostbite. Also do not run your pet through ice-covered fields or swim in ice. The ice acts like a knife cutting their legs and paws and causing vascular damage to the skin and muscles.
Remember Duck boats are operated in remote areas with dark water lurking with trees and stumps. Do not over load your boat with big bags of decoys they take up room and obstruct view of water and your dog. Big active dogs in small boats are a bad mix. Keep your dog under control and do not let it get out of your sight.
When transporting your dog to the field in an open pick up make sure the kennel is against the cab and covered with a wind proof cover. Do not let your dog run loose or tie on a long cord. Both can result in your dog being tossed out of the truck. If on a long rope it can be drug down the road causing severe trauma.
Make sure you have a good collar with name tag on your dog. This is to assure if lost your hunting companion gets home. Also the new collars with some type of illumination are great to put on your dog when going to the blind.
Duck season is a great time of year for you and your dog, strengths the bond between hunter and retriever. So be careful and use common sense.
If you have questions about your pet contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann animal Clinic at firstname.lastname@example.org