By Kristy Fike
Sometimes gun dog owners get so caught up in the training they put into their dogs that they start slacking in maintaining their dog’s overall health. Things that should be routine like grooming and keeping daily used items clean often get forgotten.
Bathing your dog periodically plays a major role in managing their skin and coat health. More than likely, your gun dog will feel better after having a bath even if they do not like getting one. One of my females tucks her rear end and tears across the yard running big circles with a big smile on her face after getting a bath. Avoid over-bathing your dog because it can dry their skin and coat out.
Brushing your gun dog should be done more often throughout the year than during just shedding seasons. Regularly brushing your dog aids in removing dirt, burs, and ticks from your dog’s coat. For this reason, many gun dog owners will brush their dog(s) down after hunts or training sessions.
Trimming your dog’s nails is essential for both their health and performance. Lengthy nails cause discomfort and can change the formation of your dog’s paws which can lead to permanent damage. Consider trimming your gun dog’s nails after you work or hunt them. Trimming them beforehand can cause discomfort when in the field.
Cleaning your dog’s ears and eyes are often overlooked by many owners. Like humans, your gun dog’s ears naturally get waxy.
Owners should inspect and clean their dog’s ears routinely and after swimming or bathing. If you use an ear rinse after your dog has been swimming or bathing, make sure the ear rinse aids in drying your dog’s ears. This will help prevent ear infections.
When inspecting your dog’s ears, look for dirt, burs, ticks, swelling, excess wax, or anything that can cause damage to your dog’s ear. Seeds or dirt can easily make their way into your gun dogs’ eyes while they are working. Therefore, your dog(s) eyes should be examined routinely and after hunts or training too.
Your gun dog’s dental health should be evaluated by your trusted veterinarian. Along with your vet’s services, your dog’s dental health can be maintained in various ways. Feeding dry food will help remove plaque from your dog’s teeth. Allowing your gun dog to have a bone periodically is a treat to them and another great way to remove plaque.
Remember to avoid giving cooked bones because they can splinter inside your dog. Other common ways to promote dental health can include dog toys specialized for teeth/gums and brushing your dog’s teeth.
Maintaining your gun dog’s health goes beyond grooming. Keeping things clean is vital to having a healthy dog. This is especially true for those who own multiple gun dogs. Washing dog bowls and water buckets regularly is not only healthy for each dog, but it is a great way to help prevent dogs from passing contagious sicknesses to each other. Toys should also be washed regularly too for the same reasons.
Dirty bedding can not only smell but it can irritate your dog’s skin and lead to skin infections. Bedding should be changed or washed frequently to eliminate these problems. Cleaning out crates after training or hunts is also a good idea. This will not only help keep your dog clean, but it is good for the life of the crate to be cleaned.
Maintaining your gun dog’s health will help prevent unnecessary medical issues, sicknesses, and vet bills. It also plays a role in your dog’s performance in the field. The time spent keeping your dog healthy is well worth it.