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Thread: Hunting dogs and heat

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Pierre, SD

    Default Hunting dogs and heat

    Hunted yesterday with my spaniel. The temperature started out in the high 40s but by late afternoon was up in the 60s causing me to worry about my dog getting heat stroke.

    What are the signs to watch for BEFORE your dog is in distress from heat? I know what healthy and happy look like, but what do you look for when your dog is starting to overheat but before it becomes a crisis?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012


    I don't think your dog should get overheated with temps in the 60's unless they are out of shape. In my experience and study if your dog becomes wobbly and lays down on its side panting profusely you are probably in the first stages of heat stroke. Since a dog does not technically have sweat glands like we do to cool themselves down you must help them. Water on the belly is a great first option. If you can get them into a pond or standing water that is also a good start. They probably won't drink much, similar to us when we get dehydrated. I always carry a bottle of water with me and try to keep them hydrated first of all. After that you need to monitor the time in the field when it is hot and keep your hunts shorter with more time spent cooling down and resting between hunts.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    20 miles south of Ft. Worth, Tx


    Signs: Excessive and/or continuous panting. Lethargic. Not answering calls or whistles. Glassy eyes. Vomiting. Heavy drooling. Rectal temp above 103.

    Prevention: #1 is probably pre-season conditioning. Lean, mean bird-finding machine. #2 is definitely hydration. Carry water, give opportunities to drink often. I take a little plastic Glad bowl in my vest bird pouch and carry a couple of water bottles. ALWAYS give opportunity at a big bowl of water when back to the truck after a field.

    If your dog does get overheated, get him/her out of the sun and into the truck with the A/C gently blowing on him/her. I carry a quart of rubbing alcohol in the dog field box. It evaporates and cools faster than water. Put it on the belly, pads, armpits, anywhere the hair is thin. DO NOT ice or ice water soak the dog; icing actually constricts the blood vessels and slows down the heat dissipation. It's smart to carry the cheapo plastic thermometers. If your dog's temp gets up near 108-109 there's a good chance you're going to lose it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    The FIRST signs that indicate you need to take a break will likely be excessive panting along with the dog obviously slowing way down. You can also lay the dog down on his back and squirt some of your water on his belly and groin area and along the head and ears (areas that put off a lot of heat) to help cool him down.

    When in the field it is advisable to give small amounts of water frequently instead of large drinks, as this can cause the dogs stomach to bloat while they are still running. Save the big drink for when you get back to the vehicle at the end of the hunt. Better yet, try and hydrate the dog before the hunt. If they won't drink I have found that baiting the water with something, usually a hand full of kibble thrown into the water and let set for a bit so the flavor will blend with the water. It works well with one of mine.
    Last edited by birdshooter; 10-31-2018 at 05:02 PM.


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