Protect your dog while you’re out in the field

One of the topics we covered in my son’s hunter education class last week was survival kits. It’s important for every hunter to have one, but if you’re a bird hunter, do you have one for your dog?

If you spend any time with your dog out in the field, you’ll eventually run into a situation where your dog needs some help. I was hunting the Table Mountain habitat management area several years ago with my friend Spike, and Spike’s German shorthair cut her front leg on a strand of barbed wire. It was a nasty cut, and we had to immediately grab the dog, apply direct pressure to the cut, and get her to a veterinarian. If we hadn’t been prepared, that might have been her last hunt.

Now that I have a dog of my own, I keep a small kit with me that has medical supplies I might need if Cricket gets hurt. I carry a couple rolls of gauze and two or three gauze pads in my hunting vest, as well as a roll of vet wrap, a styptic pencil, a tube of super glue, Neosporin, and a small container with Benadryl.

The gauze and vet wrap are there for serious cuts. If Cricket lays herself open, I can wrap her up with that gauze, and roll the vet wrap over the top of the gauze to hold it on. Vet wrap is great, because it doesn’t stick to the dog’s fur. It only sticks to itself. The important thing is to wrap it tight enough that it provides a little pressure, but not tight enough to cut off the circulation.

The styptic pencil works well for small cuts. That’s what people used to use for shaving nicks. You just lick the tip of the pencil and touch it to the cut, and it causes the blood to clot pretty quickly. Super glue can work, too, but you need to be careful not to seal in bacteria and other germs.

I also keep some more stuff back in the truck. I make sure I always have a pair of tweezers for getting rid of ticks, hemostats, scissors, saline solution to flush out the dog’s eyes or ears, and copies of my dog’s medical records, in case I have to take her to a vet we haven’t seen before.

Keep your dog – and yourself – safe this hunting season.