Life, Love, Loss and all that happens to you and to me in-between. It's a sick, haunting thought but we all know someone who has passed suddenly, tragically and unexpectedly.
In the coldest conditions, a dog blind on top of a hunting platform keeps dogs warm, dry and allows for better concealment. But what about our number one hunting companion: What special considerations must be made for them? To understand the concerns faced when hunting with retrievers in the harshest of weather, we need to first learn about the differences between dog and man, and then face off against the challenges presented by icy waters.
For starters, consider the anatomy of retriever breeds. These dogs, bred for a life in and out of water, have thick, tough coats on top, but relatively little hair on their undersides.
The purpose of this is simple: Retrievers use their bare undersides to cool off in warm conditions; this is the reason your lab often lays down in the mud on a warm fall day. By all means offer your dog a platform to hunt from, and increase the insulating value of the floor with a rubber mat or thick, outdoor carpeting that drains easily.
Hard working retrievers stay warm on the job, but down time between birds can be tough on them. Transfer dogs to the boat during a lunch break, get them good and dry, and change out their vests to prevent hypothermia.
Never hunt your dog without one once the temperatures dip into the freezing range. Stick to heavy, thick neoprene coats; their insulting value holds up even when wet.
Research and purchase a vest the same way you would your own waders — the thicker, the better. When possible, keep your dog dry, and offer him additional cover with an extra hunting jacket or, better yet, a dog blind.
They also offer the added bonus of complete concealment.
Dogs utilize protein and fat rather than carbohydrates to fill their energy needs, so rely on a food high in these values and short in grain fillers like corn and wheat. Be sure to keep extra food on hand throughout a cold day, and feed smaller amounts more often.
Late season hunts often present incredible opportunities, but unique challenges. Hunting in ice can be tough on gear and dogs alike. Never allow a dog to roam free in a boat when under power. A hunting companion of mine nearly lost his best buddy when the dog slipped from an icy bow and was struck by the boat.
And always consider the dangers of hunting in and around ice. Dogs can easily cut their legs and dewclaws from even the slightest skim-ice conditions. Always carry a canine first aid kit. Store-bought versions are OK, but I simply made one that includes the true necessities: EMT gel to stop bleeding, lots of gauze, medical tape and duct tape for added protection and strength.
Here, an early prototype model was tested in the waterfowl environment prior to release to consumers. Hunting with retrievers is truly one of the most enjoyable and productive aspects of waterfowling. Continue to carry your buddy afield as the season winds down, but be sure to do so with caution.
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5. Horse Care. Are you bringing an equine friend into your family, or looking to brush up on your horse care skills? Read on for tips to keep your horse healthy and happy.
Nutritional Needs. A horse’s digestive system is made to process large quantities of grass, which is high in fiber and water.
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The basic diet for most horses should be grass.