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field notes: cold weather & duck dogs

Emily Degan

As both the hunting and calendar seasons progress, changes in the weather bring new challenges to hunters – and their four-legged friends. Duck hunters are particularly sensitive to the effects of drops in temperature on their pups, as duck dogs are exposed not only to cold air temperatures, but also prolonged periods of wetness.

Working, please do not distrub. 

Working, please do not distrub. 

Tufts University has created a guide for assessing dog safety in varying physical and environmental conditions, on which the below guidelines are based.

If temperatures are in the:

Upper 50s and above – duck dogs should be safe without ancillary layers
Mid-50s to upper 40s – outfit duck dogs in neoprene vests for additional insulation
Mid-40s and below – a significant hypothermia risk exists, and duck dogs should be left at home

In all cases, hunters should be aware of the following signs of hypothermia in dogs: pale skin (especially around the toes, ears, and tail), uncontrollable shivering, and apathy.

Safe & happy hunting!