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For owners with dogs who easily overheat


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#1 Rave

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 09:37 PM

Since I have had two Border Collies now who are prone to overheating, and since I've been told the exact same thing by two holistic vets (one on each coast), and since I've read a number of you are having the same problem, I thought I'd pass on what I've learned.

While some dogs might not fit well into the box defined as EIC, EIH, malignant hyperthermia, etc..., the owners can tell the dog is overheating to the point of showing neurological signs, from stumbling and incoherent to full-blown seizures. Eastern medicine doesn't need a diagnosis of one of these conditions to treat the problem, they see the symptoms and attack it with a change in diet and if needed, Chinese herbs. A change in diet is something simple anyone can do. Just as eating healthy can make us humans feel better, so can it in dogs. And just like I can't eat certain foods, neither can my dogs.

For dogs who burn hot, they should not be fed foods that also burn hot. Some foods burn hot, while others are considered cool foods. Hot foods are lamb, venison, most grains, etc... Cool foods are fish, root vegetables, seaweed, etc... I'm sorry I don't have more examples. My vet back east had a chart and gave me tons of examples years ago, but I don't have that list anymore. Anyway, I went looking for a fish-based no-grain food and was surprised to find several at my local pet store. It seems the no-grain way of feeding has caught on with manufacturers. While no grain is preferred, using a food with oats and oatmeal is ok. I ended up picking up the fish variety of Wellness Core (no grains) because it had several sources of fish as the first 4-5 ingredients, not just one. Natural Balance even had their own variety that was less expensive.

I just got two mixtures of Chinese herbs to start giving Rave, so I don't know how well they work yet. I'll report back here once I know.

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#2 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 09:43 PM

I've been using the "hot" and "cool" foods system for a while - not for health purposes, but to maximize performance seasonally. I really think it helps. It's discussed briefly in Volhard.

Oats are a "hot" grain, while barley is one of the cool grains. I switched back and forth between the two when I was "doing" Volhard, but now I switch between oats and potatoes instead.

I'd never thought of applying it to overheating issues - the only dog I had with any problems was Jen and she outgrew it after I spayed her. Good luck with your pups! :rolleyes:
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#3 in2adventure

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 09:44 PM

That's really interesting. Let us know how it goes. Both of mine get super heated. Lucia knows enough to say when. Grady will go until he keals over, so needs to be watched like a hawk.I'm getting ready to switch them both from Taste of the Wild with the venison and buffalo to Orijen which is chicken and fish based. I wonder if this will help during the summer months.

Did they mention whether it was a good idea to use the hot foods in the winter for warmth and the cool foods in the summer?
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#4 Journey

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 10:02 PM

Another cool food from my holistic vet that I would not have thought of was "beef".
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#5 Rave

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 11:43 PM

Another cool protein: organ meat (e.g. liver)

The cool grains he listed are rice and oats.

#6 Lenajo

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 08:58 AM

I've been wondering if there is a difference between mutton and lamb when it comes to Chinese hot/cold foods. I almost would call mutton cold...hmmmm. Anyone know?

how about sweet potatoes?

There are a couple of meals that were traditional to UK working dogs (which, if you believe such, are part of the foods they were inadvertantly bred to do well on). One is raw milk soaked oats, and the other is mutton scraps and fish. The first 2 of those technically should be "hot". Ideas on this?

eta, in horses hot and cold feeding is almost ingrained over hundreds of years. Corn was "hot" that you gave a working animal during the winter. Oats, still hot, but not as bad as corn. Bran cooled a horse off.

The idea that improving the diet of an overheating prone dog by removing hot foods (especially corn) has been touched on before.

#7 Liz P

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 09:53 AM

That's why I have been saying for years that I don't like or believe in those energy bars for dogs, which are very high in corn syrup and other cheap sources of calories. It has to do with how the dog's body metabolizes the food. I can't remember which pet food company did it, but one of them has research on how quickly each source of carbs is metabolized. They had a graph with corn, rice, wheat, oats, sorghum, etc.

A common snack for sled dogs is fish, meat and fat in lots of water. When I used to run my BCs on a sled team I had to be careful about their carbs or they had no stamina. I do notice a huge difference in stamina and heat tolerance based on what I am feeding.

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#8 Rave

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 12:12 PM

Being a root veggie, Sweet potatos should be cool. Makes sense things grown underground and under water are cool! There are a lot of fish & sweet potato dog foods out there now.

Along the lines of the energy bars, I gave Wick some of that K9-Go I think it's called, supposedly to help dehydration because it entices them to drink and that was like giving her crack. She was shaking from the "high" of it. Never again!

One of the research articles I read on EIC suggested a higher fat diet may help with that problem.

#9 Shetlander

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 02:13 PM

This is very interesting. About 18 months ago, under the care of a holistic vet, I switched Quinn over to a home prepared diet that includes a lot of grains -- mainly oatmeal and barley. At age 3 last summer, he went from being relatively heat tolerant, at least in the sense that I could trust him to take a break from play as needed, to having three incidents of being over-heated (unsteady and stumbling a bit). Each time, he had played the same amount or less than he had previously played with no ill effects. I now make sure to carefully monitor his play and have him take frequent breaks depending on temperature and humidity.

While I would love to see him more heat tolerant, he is doing so great health wise compared to before we started this diet, that I'll continue to manage his activity level rather than make any changes in his food. But maybe this explains the difference in his heat tolerance.

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#10 angel09

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 02:23 PM

Wow this is really interesting. My boxer gets hot really easy. Do you consider chicken a cool food?
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#11 RaisingRiver

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 02:39 PM

River has been on California Natural (Chicken) for a least 6 months now because it's the only kibble I've found that doesn't give her the runs. It's just turned hot in the PacNW and she still overheats (and it doesn't have to be hot, we're talking 60-75 degrees but full sun). Sometimes she does stop the play, but often I'm the one that has to stop it because I'm pretty keen on where her tolerance is. She only overheats when playing fetch as she runs full out both ways.

If switching to their fish version, of Herring/Sweet Potato will help her overheating and still not give her the runs, then I'll endure the smell of fish kibble which I hate. So awaiting as well to hear if chicken is a cool protein, a search on google didn't give the answer I need.


Chicken Main Ingredients:
Chicken Meal
Brown Rice
Rice
Sunflower Oil
Flaxseed

Fish Main Ingredients:
Herring
Barley
Oatmeal
Herring Meal
Herring Oil
Sunflower Oil
Sweet Potatoes

#12 Rave

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 03:05 PM

My guess is it depends on the dog. If you're seeing problems with chicken, then switch to fish. I believe chicken is cooler than lamb, but not as cool as fish. I switched Wick years ago from lamb to chicken and that was enough for her. However, Rave on that same chicken food is overheating to the point of seizures (in the PAC NW), so now we're switching to fish.

#13 Liz P

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 03:15 PM

I've found the % of protein vs % carbs and the type of carbs to be far more important than the type of protein.

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#14 bcnewe2

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 03:36 PM

I've personally found that my "hot" dog does better without corn. But they do best on raw. When feeding raw I also included some home made dog food, consisting of rice, oats and shredded veggies with supplements. They all did wonderful. But I also started them on raw in Nov. so can't say what summer is like. I will switch back to raw when I have more freezer space but for now they are on TOTW venison. I will go back to the fish protein to see if it helps, as they are running hot now that the weather is changing. Plus it's our first summer in CO so I think we're still acclimating to climate. Which should be good in the end.

I'm not sold on all cool foods compared to hot, but am really not a fan or corn. I think it's in the make up of the dog. But that's only my opinion.

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#15 desertranger

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 06:33 PM

Perhpas it's because I live in the desert and the animals here are acclimated to the heat but I've never had a problem with my dogs and heat stress. However I do keep a close eye on them and read everything yo guys post about it. Thx
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#16 Riley-dog

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 10:53 PM

Perhpas it's because I live in the desert and the animals here are acclimated to the heat but I've never had a problem with my dogs and heat stress. However I do keep a close eye on them and read everything yo guys post about it. Thx


I didn't either when I lived in New Mexico or Nevada. Even in 100F, no problems. Back in PA or Missouri in 70F and high humidity and I really have to watch Riley like a hawk for signs of heat stress.

#17 Lenajo

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 10:31 AM

Perhpas it's because I live in the desert and the animals here are acclimated to the heat but I've never had a problem with my dogs and heat stress. However I do keep a close eye on them and read everything yo guys post about it. Thx


You've got only moderate heat stress out there imo. In the summer here it can easily reach 120F with 100% humidity at ground level in our pastures. It is literally diffifult to breathe - sort of like you are underwater. You have to watch the dogs carefully, and you quickly learn who's got the heart, lungs, and self cooling ability to be your go-to dog in these conditions. But even those dogs have a breaking point and you have to learn to spot it before they are already in trouble. One of the things I've really learned to watch is the amount of sun on the water on the ground. Reflection can add to the heat tremendous, even when the air temp is not extreme.

Unfit dogs, especially hyper minded ones fed diets high in corn, burn themselves to the danger point almost immediately in this heat.

For diet my dogs need moderate, high quality protein, and high fat. Carbs are only good for burst energy, the first 1.5 minutes. After that they burn fat.

#18 shanni and kingsley

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 01:24 PM

I've been wondering if there is a difference between mutton and lamb when it comes to Chinese hot/cold foods. I almost would call mutton cold...hmmmm. Anyone know?

how about sweet potatoes?


From what i know.. mutton and lamb is the same.. from goat/sheep is hot- we use the term heaty/heatiness

Chicken is heaty too.

And sweet potatoes is neutral.

you can read more from the list here..

http://ezinearticles...n...s&id=461430

it's funny.. cos i grew up with this stuff.. and people often scoff at traditonal chinese medicine.. and i'm really surprised to see a thread on it here

:rolleyes:
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#19 Journey

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 03:44 PM

it's funny.. cos i grew up with this stuff.. and people often scoff at traditonal chinese medicine.. and i'm really surprised to see a thread on it here


Thanks for the link. Nothing to scoff at, besides, when it comes to my dogs "if it works" I am good with it. Shoot, I am driving 12 hours this month to visit my old Chiro/Acupuncture/Holistic vet in Fl. Can't find one in the area we're in now.

And yes, mutton/lamb are both hot foods.
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#20 RaisingRiver

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 03:51 PM

Totally forgot about this thread. Will be buying food today, going to switch to California Natural Herring & Sweet Potato and see how that goes.


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