Hunting Older Dogs

There's one thing you can count on about young dogs; sooner or later they turn into old dogs.

But does old age mean your dog's hunting days are over? Not at all. As with people, if the body and heart are willing, there's no reason in the world he can't be hunted. But before you take him into the field in his 11th, 12th, or 13th seasons, you owe it to him to physically prepare him.

hunting-with-older-dogs

If it's at all possible, continue to exercise him. Understand that he'll have some limitations, and don't push him to the level he might have been capable of just a year or two earlier. Dogs age quickly, and a dog that is in his prime at nine can be noticeably slower by his 10th year. If he can run or swim, give him as much as he wants. You'll know when he's had enough. When he's tired, call it a day. What he needs now is rest and sleep.




"If he can run or swim, give him as much as he wants. You'll know when he's had enough."


Equally important is keeping his weight at a healthy level. Older dogs are often fat, and a fat old dog is a dog that is going to get injured or sick. Take a look at your dog's profile from above. Does he have a noticeable waist? Look at him from the side. Does his belly tuck up?

If not, cut back on his food intake. Ignore his begging; all dogs beg. Overfeeding him isn't doing him any favors. Most owners are surprised at how little food their dogs really need to thrive.


If your dog has arthritis — many do — there are several drugs your vet can prescribe at a reasonable cost that can do wonders to relieve his aches and pains. He'll tell you when and how much to use.

Finally, take him hunting.

Treat him like you would a puppy, and limit his time afield, so he enjoys every moment of it. An hour or even less may be all he can handle. If that's the case, plan for it and when he's tired, put him up. If he can handle two days in a row, fine, but most can't. He'll probably need several days of rest before he's ready to go.


Then take him hunting again.

The joy in his eyes will let you know you made the right decision.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 12

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 12

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 12

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 2

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 2

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 2

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 4

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 4

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 4

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 14

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 14

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 14

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

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

Training a hunting puppy is no easy task. Training

First Year Tips for Training a Hunting Puppy

Bob West

Training a hunting puppy is no easy task.

Some shotguns not only look good, they're also built for shattering those orange disks that can give us so much grief. Shotguns & Ammo

10 Great Shotguns for Sporting Clays

David Hart

Some shotguns not only look good, they're also built for shattering those orange disks that...

A step-by-step analysis on what to expect from your dog Puppies

Your Pup's First Year

Bob West - September 23, 2010

A step-by-step analysis on what to expect from your dog

See More Trending Articles

More Health & Nutrition

Do this quick exam at the end of each hunt. Health & Nutrition

The Post-Hunt Tailgate Checkup for Gun Dogs

Dave Carty

Do this quick exam at the end of each hunt.

Keep your gun dog running with healthy feet! Health & Nutrition

Protect Your Pointer from Foot Problems

Dave Carty

Keep your gun dog running with healthy feet!

The back half of the season requires special safety considerations. Health & Nutrition

How to Keep Your Gun Dog Safe in Cold Weather

Tom Dokken

The back half of the season requires special safety considerations.

The days are short for your aging bird dog, so make them count. Health & Nutrition

How to Care for a Senior Gun Dog

John Holcomb, DVM

The days are short for your aging bird dog, so make them count.

See More Health & Nutrition

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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