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flien

Hot weather issues

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Besides the obvious tub, what methods are you all using to help your dogs handle the heat? Electrolytes? Energy supplements? Before/during/after work?

 

Tess tends to wind herself up so much before she even works that I have to watch her like a hawk to make sure she doesn't go wobbly in the back end on me. Her coat's not heavy, and she's very fit, built like a hummingbird, but unfortunately has a temperament to match!

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Felicity,

When Victoria's Gage was having that problem, the vet had her give him Nutri-cal before working him. He outgrew the wobbly rear end stuff I think as he got less frantic about working. I should note that this happened in dead of winter as well, so was not related to ambient temperature.

 

For my dogs, I add lots of water to their kibble--on hot humid trial days I substitute pediatric electrolytes for the water (in the kibble). Sometimes I will mix something like Gatorade with the drinking water, but not often. At the suggestion of my vet I tried a product called Rebound, meant for dogs recovering frm surgery. The dogs loved it and lapped it right up, so it was an easy way to get liquid in them before and after working. It was expensive, but if you have a problem dog that you need to get to drink, it might be worth it.

 

Other than that, I don't do much.

 

J.

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Thanks, Julie!

Yes, "less frantic about working" will be the ultimate cure, I believe. The Pedia-lyte on kibble sounds logical to me -- any ABAB within subjects data to go with that ? Also, did the Nutri-cal seem to work for Gage? I do need to do something (or I think I do ) while we try to get her over the frantic stage.

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Ooh! I see Jeffers has Nutri-cal for ferrets -- should work for the Wee Weasel, eh? No, but seriously, I saw the sheep spotter at Sam's last year -- another Julie, a kiwi, I think? -- giving her beasts some supplement from a tube between classes. I think it may well have been Nutri-cal (for dogs -- the weasel thing's a joke, Frank Zappa related -- sorry all). It's protein and vit's, so not redundant -- may try a shotgun approach (hmmmm, shotgun, now that's a thought -- kidding! I'm kidding!).

 

P.S. Did you shear with Tom?????

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I like to "pre-soak" my dogs before a run or work session in hot weather. In other words, I use the tub before as well as after, kind of a brief pre-chill.

 

For endurance, active walks and some Chuck-it fetching are what I usually do. I am not very good at building endurance, although this last week the dogs got a LOT of fetching in water (Pamlico Sound on the Outer Banks and a tidal creek) which required swimming or just bounding after the ball in the water. What great exercise! And the water kept them cool while they exercised.

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well i live in vegas and we dont do anything but let them emerse themselves. which i dont even like to do(scientific fact: dogs dissipate 75% of heat thru there tongues). being more use to large breeds myself. Water + heat + humidty = can kill a large breed dog like a GSD quick. but seems to work with the BC's. Be very attentive to how far tongue hangs out and gum and tongue color. some of these dogs will work themselves to death in high heat.

 

 

As far as conditioning we just make them work in it. which means we have to work in it as well. best thing about working dogs in vegas is everywhere else isnt as hot.

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I've always questioned using NutriCal (sugar) with working dogs to give them a boost. When my dogs are working hard they get a high calorie formula based on protein and fat. It was made for canine athletes that are pushed to the extreme such as endurance sled dogs (they can run 1200 miles in 9 days). When my dogs are eating the power formula they don't get the wobbles, but when they are on a grain based food designed for pet dogs they don't have a very high exercise tolerance. I snack my dogs with a mix of meat and fat on days I know they will be working extra hard.

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Basically, "tying up" (exertional rhabdomyolysis - ER) occurs when the dog runs out of conventional sources of energy and starts breaking down it's muscle to provide energy. What we see is a dog "hitting the wall", weakness, staggering, extreme panting and loss of cognitive function. If enough muscle tissue breaks down, myoglobin (the oxygen carrying molecule in muscle tissue) builds up in the blood and excreted in the urine, turning the urine a reddish brown color. Severe cases can lead to death... just like overheating.

 

researching sled dogs you get a good education on how these athletes are fed. From research done on sled dogs, I learned that working dogs need to get up to 60% of their energy from fat. Unlike humans, dogs use up their glycogen stores within minutes of exertion. If there is not a good source of circulating fatty acids, the body will turn to breaking down the protein of muscles next. If one provides adequate fat in the diet, the dog will preferentially utilize that as the energy source. This not only spares the muscle but also increases a dog's endurance.

 

attached is web page that summarizes this fairly well.

http://k9power.com/fat'swhere.htm

 

If you think this is what happens to your dog, I would suggest evaluating your food. Be sure you are feeding AT LEAST 30% protein and 20% fat (dry basis). Remember fat has 2 times the energy as protein. There are a few dry foods out there that meet this requirement. One food that fits this is

Click here: http://www.nutrisourcedogfood.com/products/superperf.html The fat source we use

http://www.redpawfeed.com/fat.htm We feed raw chicken some kibble and the fat and since starting the 2 dogs we have who would "tie up" no longer do so and all my others dogs have MUCH better endurance and heat tolerance.

 

If you decide to change to a hi protein/high fat diet, keep in mind it can take a couple of months for the dog to begin to utilize the energy source efficiently. Also, these are very calorie dense foods and need to be fed in moderation. I would feed 1/4-1/3 less that what you are feeding now. And monitor your dog's condition carefully - be sure to feel as well as weigh. On these diets, the fat layers can come on overnight!

 

Lana Rowley

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Thanks for the insights, everyone, and thanks for letting me mooch off your research! I'll have to see what works and report back. I can certainly see bumping up her fat intake -- sage advice, thanks!

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Hi Felicity!

My Rae has had a problem --not necessarily heat related, definitely excitement/stress related. At the suggestion of a friend, I switched her to a raw diet based primarily on mutton. Mutton has high levels of carnitine which is supposed to help. She just turned 5 this spring and she seems to have outgrown it (knock on wood). I think it's the combination of diet and mental maturity that have made the difference. I also spent a lot of time training her to be calm while working the sheep (driving toward the pressure and making sure she stayed relaxed about them drifting away, long sessions of just driving slowly around the field). It's also nice to have something like the nutri-cal on hand just in case.

Good luck with her,

Renee

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Hi Renee,

Right, it was a bit misleading of me to start off by saying "hot weather," as it's primarily a stress issue, but it is greatly magnified by warm weather and high humidity. I was thinking the same thing about Nutri-cal -- keeping it around the same way I always have a bottle of Nutri-drench around for the sheep.

Your experience with Rae and Vic's with Gage give me more hope that time and steady work will probably do the trick -- in the meantime, a bit more fat in her diet, perhaps pedialyte on really hot days, and Nutri-cal as a hedge may help (shotgun!). Tess is really a spiffy little dog. Besides not wanting to ever see her have a major "crash," I'd love to see just how far she could go.

Thanks for the specific training tip, too!

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