Skip to main content

Can You Hunt an Aging Dog?

With proper care, you can still hunt your aging dog.

It seems like yesterday that your dog was a puppy bouncing happily on your lap. Now, when he looks up at you, you can see the age in his eyes.

The problem is, he doesn't know he's old. He wants to hunt as much at 10 as he did at one. As a conscientious owner, should you let him? You bet! But a little common sense and prevention can go a long ways toward making his last days afield enjoyable.

First, keep him in shape. Running, swimming, fetching Frisbees — whatever he enjoys should be continued. You should, of course, allow for the inevitable loss of strength and endurance that come with age, but as long as your dog is enjoying himself, let him run.


Give him a good workout, keep him well hydrated if it's hot, and then let him have all the time he needs to recuperate. Seniors can't, and shouldn't be, exercised to exhaustion. But you'll be surprised at how long an older dog can go if he's allowed to fully recuperate between exercise or hunting sessions.


Many dogs, like many people, develop arthritis as they age, but two medications will work wonders. The first is Rimadyl, a highly effective drug available by prescription. The second is aspirin, the same garden variety aspirin you buy for yourself. Some recommend buffered aspirin, so talk to your vet and see what he suggests. Both work quite well at managing chronic pain in hard working dogs.

Loss of hearing is another problem, which manifests itself when you try to call your dog in, either by voice or whistle. But there's an easy solution: train your dog to recall with the tone button on his e-collar. Unless he's completely deaf, he'll be able to hear the beeper attached to his collar, and it's an easy command to teach — simply transition the whistle (or verbal) recall command to the tone by hitting the tone first, followed by the customary whistle. In a few days, your dog will start responding to the tone alone.

Finally, avoid hunting in hot weather. If it's warm for you, it's far too hot for an older dog. Keep him home or hunt him early and late, when it's cooler.

He's spent his life hunting for you. Now you can repay his devotion by letting him hunt at his own speed, safely, for the rest of his life.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 9

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 9

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 9

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 14

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 14

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 14

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 4

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 4

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 4

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The hard part about training gun dogs is getting them to go against their natural behaviors. Unnatural Behaviors: Training Gun Dogs to Hunt Training

Unnatural Behaviors: Training Gun Dogs to Hunt

Tony J. Peterson

The hard part about training gun dogs is getting them to go against their natural behaviors.

Kyle Wintersteen does a dog breed comparison on Chessies and Labs. See how these two breeds stack up.Dog Breed Comparison: Chessies vs. Labs Profiles

Dog Breed Comparison: Chessies vs. Labs

Kyle Wintersteen

Kyle Wintersteen does a dog breed comparison on Chessies and Labs. See how these two breeds...

Whether you're building or buying a new dog kennel, following these simple guidelines will ensure a safe and comfy home for your favorite hunting buddy.How To Build the Perfect Dog Kennel How-To

How To Build the Perfect Dog Kennel

Jerry Thoms

Whether you're building or buying a new dog kennel, following these simple guidelines will...

See More Trending Articles

More Training

You can learn a lot about what your dog is trying to tell you if you take the time to listen to it.What the Barking Dog is Telling Us Training

What the Barking Dog is Telling Us

Ed Bailey

You can learn a lot about what your dog is trying to tell you if you take the time to listen...

Training a flushing dog with live birds requires you to first build a solid foundation.Train Flushing Dogs with Live Birds Training

Train Flushing Dogs with Live Birds

Jerry Cacchio

Training a flushing dog with live birds requires you to first build a solid foundation.

It's certainly possible our four-legged hunting partners sport more mental bandwidth than we think.Are Bird Dogs Really Smart? Training

Are Bird Dogs Really Smart?

Tony J. Peterson

It's certainly possible our four-legged hunting partners sport more mental bandwidth than we...

Geese demand special consideration given their size and occasional nastiness.Teaching Your Retriever to Handle Big Birds The Retrieve

Teaching Your Retriever to Handle Big Birds

Tom Dokken

Geese demand special consideration given their size and occasional nastiness.

See More Training

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Gun Dog App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Gun Dog subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now