Keeping Your Hunting Dog Hydrated
Throughout the years I've tried many different ways to keep my dogs hydrated while in the field. Living in a relatively dry state like Utah, we don't always have the luxury of having a stream or other means of water nearby when we're out and about. If your not careful, it can become a very dangerous situation and deadly for your dog if it gets overheated.
I've tried everything from water bladders to collapsable bowls to keep my dogs watered. Sharing my water bladders doesn't work for me. I don't like sharing the spout with my dog. That is just gross. Call me selfish or whatever but after seeing the things my dogs eat and put in their mouths in the field I don't want their mouths anywhere near my personal drinking water.
I also carry a 96 oz water bladder during most chukar hunts, so all together that is 192 oz. of water at my disposal. It weighs a lot and I usually dump half of it out at the end of the day but if I ever need it I'm happy it's there. For short hunts or cold days (below freezing) I usually only carry half that amount. One bottle for each dog and a 64 oz. bladder.
One thing you need to remember about hydrating your dog with a squirt bottle is you need to hold the bottle low enough so that the bottle is level with the dogs face while the dog is drinking. If you hold it too far above your dog's mouth the dog could easily choke on the water and will spend the next minute or so coughing it up. Hold it level and let the water drain out into your dogs mouth rather than squirting it. The dog will drink more water and waste less. The below picture illustrates the wrong way to do it. Hold the bottle lower and it wont be a problem.
Another great trick to use on really hot days is to bring along a standard spray bottle full of water and mist your dogs undercarriage (belly and chest) after watering them. The more water evaporation off the dogs skin the cooler the dog will stay.
Stay Safe and Happy Hunting.
Update: I've changed up my dog water regimen since writing this post. The last several years I've been using Gatorade squeeze bottles. They come in 32 and 28 oz sizes. They last forever, are easy to refill and carry and easier to squirt water into your dog's mouth. I've found them much better than the sport top bottles. They hold more water and are more durable. They are pretty cheap and you can buy them almost anywhere.