Sunday, April 21, 2013

Overheating: Part II

We were out with my service dog again this weekend.  Temperatures were a bit cooler, and he walked several miles further without any difficulty at all.  We were out a few hours longer, and he napped very little.  But he drank in quantity--which he would not do at first last week, even though we offered very frequently.  You can lead (or give) your dog water, but you can't force him to drink!

I'm thinking snacks with more salt than his usual treats are a good idea on lengthy outings, as they are for people--you can replenish water but remain dehydrated if salts aren't replenished.  And in fact we used some deli turkey for rewards yesterday and gave him some seasoned beef jerky for an additional snack and treat.  My belief is that a dog who's working a long time needs calorie replenishment to avoid hypoglycemia and electrolyte imbalance, as a hiker would.

What happened last week is a good reminder that a dog with a lot of stamina can have problems quickly if they're not drinking enough and/or get overheated.

I'm interested in whether anyone else has trouble getting their service dog to drink enough sometimes.  Is it from excitement and distraction, or is there some physiologic reason?

(Adding: dogs, like babies, can't tell you when they're feeling down.  Watch your dog carefully for signs their energy is flagging--a service dog will contain his excitement more visibly than other dogs--but would keep going long after he should because of it.

I have some birthday money and will be ordering the cooling vest ahead of summer temperatures for my hot doggy--thanks, all!)

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