Caring for Your Hunting Dog

Caring for Your Hunting Dog

Labradors are great hunting dogs, and getting to hunt with them is a unique experience that can strengthen the bond between you two. To keep your pup happy and healthy before, during, and after hunting season, here are some helpful tips!

Regular Veterinarian Visits

Your hunting dog works hard. During hunting sessions, they’re exposed to extreme temperatures, wild animals, and extra amounts of exercise. Because your Lab is doing more than the “average” dog is, they’re also more likely to get injured or sick. Before the season starts with conditioning, training, and hunting, get Fido in for a vet visit so they can get a full physical evaluation to ensure they’re in tip-top shape. Then during the mid-season, get your Lab back in for a re-check even if they’re not showing any signs of discomfort or illness, just to be safe.

Signs of Common Illnesses & Injuries

These are some of the most common illnesses and injuries that your Lab could experience when out hunting, as well as symptoms to look out for.

  • Overheating – usually presents as dark gums and a droopy tail.
  • Frostbite – early signs can include red tissue in exposed areas like the ears, tail, paws, and other sensitive places; if their skin starts to turn gray, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Hypothermia – look for excessive shivering and decreased alertness.
  • Cuts & Scratches – carefully part and search through thick fur each day
  • Fleas & Ticks – you may see tiny insects jumping above or hiding deep beneath their fur; your pooch might start to scratch excessively, have skin that is irritated or bleeding.

Make Sure Fido Gets Plenty of Exercises and Practise

You want to make sure that your Lab is in the proper shape for hunting season. Just like you can’t wake up one day and run a marathon, neither can your pup. Your hunting dog will need plenty of training and practice; otherwise, they could be fatigued after only 2 hours of hunting. It’s recommended to begin training 6 to 8 weeks ahead of hunting season. Then, gradually each week, increasing the exercise routine more. Here are some great activities to consider incorporating into your Lab’s conditioning:

  • Retrieving – regular play retrieving games with them, but be sure to stop as soon as their interest starts to decrease so that they don’t start to dislike it.
  • Swimming – try playing fetch in the water to exercise all of your Lab’s muscles, including their heart.
  • Hiking – this can help strengthen Fido’s hind legs and rear muscles.

Grooming is Important

Hunting can be extremely dirty, with mud, grass, rivers, and dead animals playing a large part in the experience. Be sure to give your Lab a nice proper bath afterward. You don’t want the mess and smell that Fido has accumulated to spread throughout your home, so be sure to use some pet-friendly shampoo to give them a good cleaning. Bathing your pup is also a great opportunity to look for fleas, ticks, and injuries that you might not have been able to see before.

Your Lab will most definitely appreciate you taking special care of them so that they can perform their best during hunting season.

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Service Area

We service the following areas:


  •  Boise
  •  Meridian
  •  Twin Falls
  •  Pocatello
  •  Idaho Falls
  •  Sun Valley
  •  Southern Idaho


  •  Bozeman & Surrounding


  •  Salt Lake County

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TK Hot Retrievers
Pocatello, ID

Office: (208) 703-7149

Mon-Sat 9:00AM - 6:00PM