Montana Trap Awareness for Dog Owners

Winter photo of a man removing a golden retriever's paw from a trap.
Photo courtesy Montana K9 safety

Racheal Vargas, Montana K9 Safety

Trap awareness is still important, even with Spring approaching and most trapping in Montana ending. Some fur bearing species are trapped year-round. When out exploring this spring, be aware that trapping can still be occurring in your area. The best practice is to keep your dog on a leash when out hiking or walking in our forests. The next best practice is to be educated on quick release techniques to remove your dog and basic first aid skills if needed.

Always be prepared with items that can help you remove your dog quickly. Have a 5-foot nylon leash with you, a muzzle or items that can be used for an improvised muzzle, and always carry basic first aid items. Often the items in your personal first aid kit can be used for your dog as well with the addition of a few extra items.

If your dog is caught, stay calm. Place a leash and a muzzle on them, before removing the trap. At the top and bottom of the attached picture is a foothold style trap. You will need to use both hands or feet to push the spring levers down. Once you do your dog will feel the pressure release and remove his leg quickly. At the left of the picture is a snare. The snare has a lock on the cable. You will need to push the cable away from you through the lock opening to loosen the snare and slip over your dog’s head. The trap on the right side of the picture is a body gripping trap. These traps are much harder to remove without assistance. You will need an extra leash or rope to remove. You will need to have a section in a loop for your foot to hold, the other end will need to be threaded through the eyes and pulled until it is released—you will then need to complete on the other side as well. You must act quickly as these types of traps are usually deadly.

All this trap talk sounds confusing, but that is ok. Trap awareness is important. If you spend time recreating in our forests, take a class and practice hands on skills to save your pet in the event of an accidental trapping. Be prepared with the supplies you need to remove a trap, have extra first aid supplies, and the number to your Veterinarian. MSN

For more information, or to take a class to learn these much-needed skills contact Montana K9 Safety.