Owning a sporting dog is more than enjoying a leisurely hunt in the early hours and then heading home without a worry. Preventative measures should always be taken to ensure the health and safety of yourself and your animal, especially during hunting dog training. Ask any veterinarian or seasoned hunter, and they will tell you the same thing – keeping a few odds and ends prepared for quick first aid for your sporting dog or gun dog is essential to a rewarding experience.
There are plenty of places to pick up pre-made hunting dog training first aid kits, but they often do not include many of the recommendations from experienced owners or too much of what you do not need as fillers. That is why we have come up with this list to help you keep your pup in good health as you train, hunt, and explore the great outdoors.
What to Carry on Your Person
Let’s first start with the essentials you need to have on hand for sporting dog first aid. These are the quick solutions to common injuries that will either heal issues in a short time or do not require the assistance of a veterinarian.
- Flashlight – So you can see what you are doing and the extent of the damage.
- Dog Boots/Paw Wax – Both work well for hot or cold ground.
- Emergency Mylar Blanket – If you are going to be around water, this is a must.
- Needle Nose Pliers – Useful for removing things from your dog’s skin, mouth, or ears.
- Dish Soap – You never know when your pup may come across toxins, grease, or oil.
- Tick Key – If you live anywhere with ticks or similar creatures, you are going to want an effective way to remove the nasty bugs from your sporting dog without risking parts of the insect staying inside the animal.
- Honey Packets – Excellent for the pup that experiences shock easily or need a blood sugar boost.
- Padding – This could be a bandana, old t-shirt, or favorite blanket you can rip up to better wrap around a wound or get wet to cool the dog.
What to Keep in Your Truck
These items are great for filling your hunting dog training first aid kit. They are a little bit too big to carry on your person while in the field. If you can fit them all into a small pack, you can easily put them on a boat, but otherwise, you should have them in your truck.
- Saline Flush – There are a few options here. You probably want something specific for the eyes, wounds, and ears. Most of these can be purchased over the counter, and you should avoid any additives. The goal is to clean the area, not treat it as of yet.
- Stretch Gauze/Cling Wrap/Cast Padding – You want three levels of padding. The first is a non-adherent abortive pad followed by cast padding and then by stretch gauze or cling wrap to hold everything together. You’re in good shape if you can get vet wrap for a fourth layer or as a standalone.
- Hemostats – Think of these as your toolkit for removing anything from your sporting dog, like quills, thorns, etc.
- Instant Cold Packs – These help with swelling or painful areas and if your pup gets overheated easily.
- Triple Antibiotic Ointment – After cleaning a wound, apply this to help avoid infection.
- Muzzle – We may all like to think our dogs will be docile when we treat them, but if your pup is in pain, they may nip while you try to help.
- Paint Stir Stick – Useful for setting tails, working with splints, or if needing a tourniquet.
- Scissors – To cut through bandages, tape, etc.
- Vick’s VapoRub – Keeps your dog from biting through the bandages you have set.
- Tape – To seal your bandages. If you can get a hole of leukotape, that is better as it is highly waterproof.
- Hand Sanitizer – For cleaning up your own hands after treating your dog’s injuries.
- Dog Safety Restraint System – Dogs often feel off-balanced or lethargic after an injury. It is helpful to have a method to keep them safe and secure as you drive to a vet’s office.
- Snakebite Kit – This is more for if you live in an area with dangerous snakes like the Southwest and rattlesnakes or Southeast and cottonmouths.
Other Preventative Health Essentials
It goes without saying that you should have a recent photo of your sporting dog on your phone and your vet’s contact information. This way, you can call your vet or the local authorities if you need help or the dog has gone missing.
Other things to keep both as a physical copy and digital copy would be:
- Recent Photos
- Vaccination records
- Dog License
- Microchip details
You may want to consider taking a local dog first aid class. Many common ailments can be easily managed until you reach a vet that will save your pup’s life. This isn’t just CPR, but learning how to handle:
- Stopping a broken nail from bleeding
- Correctly applying bandaging for a wound
- Dealing with a bloody nose
- Applying a splint to a fracture or broken bone
- Heatstroke mitigation
- Bee, scorpion, and porcupine stings
There is one more item we should discuss in detail, and that is a skin stapler. Some veterinarians highly recommend a skin stapler because it can close up large wounds. However, if you are unsure of your dog’s basic anatomy, you could cause more damage or risk infection. We suggest taking a class or speaking with your veterinarian before adding this item to your truck sporting dog’s first aid kit.
It all comes down to where you will be conducting hunting dog training and what conditions you need to worry about. Take your time and put together a kit that works for your environment and specific sporting dog. The goal is to be prepared for the worst, but hopefully, never have to use any of it.
At Huntmark, we specialize in hunting dog training tools and accessories. Many of our clients spend hours in the woods, on the river, or in hard-to-reach areas. We want you all to be safe and secure. We highly recommend you learn as much as possible about caring for your sporting dog. That unique bond between you and your animal is valuable. We want only years of rewarding interactions, so please, stay safe out there!
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