Our canine companions tag along for a lot of outdoor adventures. With Wyoming ice fishing season taking shape, bringing your dog along for company could be tempting — but also dangerous. A fun activity for you can turn hazardous for a pet; leaving it at home is the best way to make sure your dog is safe. But, if you decide sit on the ice with your best furry friend, follow this advice:
- Make sure your dog stays warm. They should wear a neoprene vest — ideally one with extra floatation for extra warmth on the ice and will help keep the dog afloat should it fall through a pressure ridge, thin ice, or go in an open pocket.
- Keep its paws free of ice. Iced-up paws can hurt a dog and make it hard for it to walk. Take along a pad or blanket, too, for the dog to stand or lie on.
- Watch your dog in the hut. Keep your dog away from ice holes so a paw doesn’t slip in, and watch for a wild tail wagging too close to the heater. Also, because of dogs’ curious nature, be cautious with baited lures and hooks. Colorful and smelly lures can grab a mischievous dog’s attention. Keep lures tucked away in your gear both on the ice and in your vehicle.
- Keep it leashed. Even if your pooch is typically well-behaved, the ice is a new and exciting place. Even the best dogs sometimes ignore verbal commands, so leashing it is good for its safety and is a courtesy to other anglers. If a dog is allowed to run on the ice way from its owner, there is a greater likelihood of it falling through a pressure ridge, thin ice or into an open section of water.
If the worst does happen and your dog falls through the ice and can’t get out, don’t attempt to rescue it alone. You are at risk of falling through the ice, too. Find help quickly, preferably a search and rescue team that has experience and proper equipment for ice rescues.