Fishing with Fido
Follow these simple precautions to prevent accidents on the water
Want to bring your dog along when you go fishing? Like most outdoor activities, fishing can be safe for dogs if you take some precautions. Here’s how to prevent your four-legged friend from getting hooked, and what to do if an accident does happen.
The same barbs that stop fish from getting away will also prevent you from simply sliding out a hook caught in your pooch’s paw. It’s a good idea, therefore, to pinch down the barbs when fishing with your dog. For fetch-happy Fido, a lure can look like a toy flying through the air or flickering in the water. And the aroma of live bait can be tempting to any dog. With that in mind, spend the time to train your dog to leave tantalizing lures and bait alone.
Fishing with dogs requires some simple precautions
Be sure to bring a first-aid kit, needle-nose pliers and side cutters in case your dog does get hooked. Removing a single hook from a dog’s hide is generally straightforward—if your patient lets you. And hopefully, you’ve pinched down the barb. If not, start by pushing it through the skin until the barb is visible. Then pinch down the barb or snip off the tip and pull the hook back out the same path it entered. For treblehooks, first cut off any free hooks with your side cutters, then remove each embedded hook one at a time, the same way you’d remove a single hook. This can take longer to do, so if your dog’s patience runs out, immobilize the hook and take him to the vet. Also head immediately to the vet if your dog gets deep hooked. The same goes if he swallows the hook. If the line is still attached, hold it (don’t pull it) or tie it to the dog’s collar so it’s not swallowed, too. While some hooks may be removed endoscopically, surgery is often inevitable if the dog is snagged in the throat or stomach.
Saskatchewan hunter Lowell Strauss writes about dogs for Outdoor Canada.