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Author Topic: Getting Everything Ready by BeaglePup  (Read 472 times)

Offline TalkHunting Mag

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  • Join Date: Mar 2013
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Getting Everything Ready by BeaglePup
« on: March 03, 2013, 05:04:30 PM »
You are getting yourself and your equipment ready for the upcoming hunting season. Replacing clothes, buying ammo, making sure your licenses are in order, maybe even working out to get your body ready for long treks in the woods BUT what about your four-legged hunting buddies?

Most hunters in the South have to put their hunting dog(s) “up” for the summer due to the heat. I know that my Beagles do not make it to the woods to “work out” like they want to in the hot summer months here in Virginia. Now is the time to start getting them back on track for the upcoming hunting season as well.

This is what I do to prepare my dogs to go afield with me, and I start this around September 1st when at all possible.

First, I check over my vaccine records and make sure every dog is current. Then I make sure all the dogs have had a good worming. The rest will be a day by day and week by week preparation for them (and for me). I make sure to check the collars they wear in the field to insure that they are in good shape and have a flat tag riveted onto them with my name and cell phone and home phone number on it.

Your dog needs to work up to running all day just as you need to work up to walking all day. If you have not been doing this all summer and are out of shape, well so are the dogs. Now, mind you, I have a large fenced area that I let the beagles out to play in all year round, but there are no rabbits to run in that area and all it does is help ward off “pen (cabin) fever”. In September I start taking a few of them at a time to the field and let them get back to using their noses to root out Mr. Bunny and maybe have a good short chase or two. I do this the last hour of daylight or very early in the morning a few days a week. After that first few weeks of this I move to keeping them out longer periods of time as the weather cools down.

During this same time I start to slowly increase the amount of fat in their diet by switching over from a maintenance type 21% protein 10% fat based dog food to a 24% protein 20% fat based dog food. Working dogs need a higher intake of fat in their diets and most often do not need to increase protein levels nearly as much as was thought in years past. A healthy adult sporting/hunting dog will keep good muscle tone with 21% to 24% protein. The average hunting dog will burn up 5% to 11% of their body fat when working in the field for 5 hours or more. Replacing the fat in the dog’s diet means it will have it there to use when it is needed. This is also a time you will need to use “common sense” with your hunting partner, if the dog puts on extra weight that is not being used up when the dog is working in the field, then you need to reduce the fat content of its food. At this time I also start adding more of my vitamin supplement to the dog’s food. This supplement is composed primarily of brewer’s yeast, C, B12, B6, and omega 6 salmon oil. There are many of these types of supplements available at pet food stores and farm supply stores, and I have found as long as the supplement contains those major ingredients you will be happy with the results. (Now I give this supplement all year round to my hunting dogs, but I give it in half doses in the warm summer months.)

Now, when you are getting your hunting dog ready for the season be sure that you have trimmed their toe nails and pay close attention to the pads of their feet. They have not been running on those pads all summer and they are tender. There are products you can purchase to toughen up those pads or to treat them if they do become sore – get some, keep it handy because if you do not have any around you will need it, Murphy’s Law here folks. I also have first aide cream or spray around all the time for those briar pricked ears and tail tips.

Remember, prepare your four-legged hunting buddy like you prepare yourself! You will be glad you did!



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