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    Be Prepared

    Assembling a well-stocked first-aid kit and learning how to use the items in it are the first steps in developing the confidence to deal with dog health emergencies. (Photo/Tailfeather Communications, LLC)
    Assembling a well-stocked first-aid kit and learning how to use the items in it are the first steps in developing the confidence to deal with dog health emergencies. (Photo/Tailfeather Communications, LLC)
    Running through dense woods at full speed, jumping logs, climbing rocky hillsides, encountering wild animals – your hunting dog is the ultimate extreme sports athlete. Injuries are going to occur. Unfortunately, there is no training staff or team of medical professionals to run onto the field to tend the injured. It’s usually just you and maybe a buddy or two. Somebody needs to be prepared.

    An easily accessed, well-equipped first-aid kit should accompany every dog owning hunter on every trip. Knowing you are prepared helps you to control the natural panic response I described in an earlier column. Knowing what to do in an emergency situation takes training and preparation. Reading a canine first-aid book and searching the Internet for tips on handling emergencies are also helpful steps you can take before heading into the field.

    A Google search of “dog first-aid kits” revealed numerous commercial kits ranging from the basic at $20 to the professional at $800. For the do-it-yourselfer, though, assembling your own kit is easy.

    Deciding on a container for all your items depends on the amount of “stuff” you want to carry, the amount and location of available storage space in your vehicle and personal preference. Zippered canvas duffel bags and backpacks work well, but finding specific items usually requires unloading or lots of digging around.

    I prefer hard containers over soft because they keep liquid containers from getting crushed and leaking, and I like opening them up and seeing things without having to rummage through them to find what I’m looking for. Such plastic tool/tackle boxes have trays and dividers for organization. You also might consider flat “Tupperware”-style containers with latching lids. They come in many sizes, provide easy access to items and are easy to store. Whatever works best for you is fine as long as you can store everything in one spot and can get to it quickly.

    Below is a list of items I think should be in every dog handler’s first-aid kit. Brand names are used for the purpose of familiarity, not because I am recommending them. Of course, you’ll also want to include any specific medications or items your specific dog requires.

    In my next column, I’ll discuss how and when to use items on the list.


    Dr. Hank Clemmons is a graduate of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. He splits his time between his Spartan Animal Hospital in McFarland, Wisconsin, and Kentucky, where he works primarily on show horse sports medicine. He spends his Octobers at his cabin in northern Wisconsin hunting ruffed grouse with his Drahthaars.
    Dr. Hank Clemmons is a graduate of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. He splits his time between his Spartan Animal Hospital in McFarland, Wisconsin, and Kentucky, where he works primarily on show horse sports medicine. He spends his Octobers at his cabin in northern Wisconsin hunting ruffed grouse with his Drahthaars.

    Wolfe Publishing Group