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getting to be that time of year. overheating dog


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I was wondering if any of you with dogs that overheat readily when working would be willing to share your experiences. I am currently giving Rae a product called "Impact" in her food daily. I also have something called "Glycocharge" to be given after exercise --I only give her that if she's been worked extra long or she seems especially wiped out. I haven't used these long enough to know if it will help yet, plus it's still early in the season. I also have a "cool mat" for her to lay on after working and keep crushed ice for her in the camper when we're at trials in the summer.

Thanks,

Renee

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I have been using the Purina Performance bars at trials for a pick'em up when hot or just a long day (we work the pen, so it's sustained work-unlike the energy used for a trial run or training). I have used them for the short duration higher intensity work too, it seems to help. I used to work with a DVM cardiologist and I asked him about how to deal with the heat/stress, and he said to try to feed them a little throughout the day, being hypoglycemic was part of the heat stress problem.

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I recently bought something called K9 Quencher that I plan to try. You add it to their drinking water before, during, after exercise times.

 

It even comes in flavors. I am actually trying to find the time to call my vets to see what they think about it before giving it to my dogs.

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Renee,

 

I found this while waiting for my "stuff" to be done.

 

Mark

 

Our Partners and Heat Stress The Obscure Health Risks by Kathryn Doherty

 

Many overlooked factors that predispose canines to be more susceptible to heat stroke are:

 

  • physical condition (obesity, musculature, coat density, age and acclimatisation);
  • environmental (excessive heat, humidity and radiant heat from the sun);
  • contravening medical problem (drug assimilation, underlying cardiovascular, upper respiratory and/or neurological disease);
  • mental status (emotional personality is affected by fear, anger, excitement and worry);
  • previous episodes of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

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My understanding is that electrolytes are not really that important for exercising dogs. We need them and horses need them because we sweat, but dogs don't sweat.

 

A friend of mine has a bitch, not a working bitch but seriously training in agility, with overheating problems. In the summer she always hauls a little tub around with her, a cooler of water, and ice. She has the bitch lie in the water between every single run or bout of exercise.

 

There are a number of snack bar type things for dogs. Solo won't touch the Purina bars (he thinks they're weird and not meaty enough) but likes Zukes Power Bones. The other thing I've heard of that seems to work is simply making up peanut butter sandwiches and feeding those throughout the day. Quick fat, quick carbs, cheap, yummy, and you can eat them too if you run out of human food.

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I switch off grains for everybody in the summer. The protein seems to maintain their energy levels better - I always end up shearing stupid late in the season, for instance - and it's always hot - I notice it most then because that's such an intense weekend.

 

Otherwise I don't change anything or offer anything with carbs through the day. Just plenty of cool water offered during frequent short breathers. I've never had a problem with any of my dogs in hard training or working sessions. I've seen Don (new dog) work seven hour days with only short breaks, in 80 degree heat, so I don't expect any surprises with him, either. [whoa, edit - short breaks AND a couple long breaks!]

 

All right, how about this - do you think letting them get wet through when they are working, is ok? In other words, does the evaporative cooling offset the loss of insulation from the sun when the undercoat is wet? I feel like if they are getting a long break I let them do it but otherwise I just let them drink and maybe hose down their undersides or dunk really quick and get out before they get wet through.

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Renee - i used to do a couple of things that seemed to help with Ben. I'd take along a cooler with ice in it and let him drink out of that - it would cool him down quicker than just regular water. He loved that, would always run up to coolers looking for a drink. I'd also keep Nutrical/Nutristat handy and give him some before running and again afterwards. It's easy to get in a hot dog since it's a sweet paste.

 

Another thing i try is to break up training - say do outruns or intense stuff, then switch to slow boring walking drives, long walks at really slow speeds, so the dog is actually cooling off as it works. The sheep have to be cooperative at this of course. It worked ok with Ben on course too - i'd really gear him down on a drive so he'd have some gas when he got to the shedding ring. doesn't always work out that way but something to think about as long as course times aren't set too short.

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I suppose it would depend on your climate, but in arid New Mexico, I wet down Riley's back when he started to show signs of overheating and almost immediately he'd cool down. It wouldn't work as well in humid climes, but it would still be preferable to being dry.

 

Be careful of offering too cold water to a hot dog or allowing him to gulp down his fill while he is still hot and breathing fast from exertion. He could end up vomiting and be worse off than before. Ever gulped down a class of ice water right after a hard run? Not a very pleasing experience.

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Thanks for the reponses. I don't let her have icewater until she's caught her breath a bit. The dog I'm referring to is not a normal dog in terms of overheating/stamina. While I can work her as long as I want in the winter, she's a different dog in the summer. I can work her just doing average training for only about 10 minutes at a time. Any longer, and sometimes in only 10 minutes, she'll be staggering. You can literally feel the heat coming off of her. She will sometimes even get hotter after working --you can literally put your hand on her head and feel it happening. Last summer, she actually got a muscle cramp in her jaw and it locked shut for about 20 seconds --a very scary thing for a dog you're trying to cool down in a hurry. Of course, being a border collie, she doesn't let me know any of this while she's working. I just go out with a watch so I know when to quit.

Debbie, I do only feed once a day and that's a simple change to make for her. Does anybody out there have a dog with a problem like this? I was wondering if there may be certain lines of dogs with problems like this. I have a full littermate, a half/sister, as well as the dam and none have this problem. I also know the sire doesn't have this problem as well.

Thanks again,

Renee

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I think a big factor for her is mental. She gets really wound up about going to work. I've been trying a new thing with her to see if it helps. I'm haveing her drive the whole flock in laps around the field for long stretches of time while it's cool. I'm making her be calm and steady. Calm work is something I've always had to do with her, I've just not done it for long amounts of time. I thought it might make her relax a bit mentally.

Renee

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Renee - that's kind of what i was talking about. Do an outrun or two, then have her walk the sheep really, really slowly on crossdrives for a good long time. I mean like crawling along almost, just boring stuff to cool the brain and that should cool the body. You should see her cooling off. I know i've seen it with Gael when i was trying to work her for really long sessions when she was younger.

 

It's a real bear of a problem, i hated having to deal with it on Ben. His tense brain would make his body overheat.

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Thanks Robin. I looked up Nutrical. It sounds like the same sort of stuff I'm giving her now. A paste form could be handy sometimes, esp. on the road at trials. The stuff she gets now is in powder form to be mixed with water. I like this because then I know she's getting plenty of water in her as well. I still wonder about the core of the problem though. You know why her body is so poorly adapted in an otherwise healthy dog. Her mom's really a wound up type as well and she's fine. It's pretty frustrating to think that Starr is twice her age and can go twice as long. Like I said, I haven't been using this stuff long enough to tell yet. I'm just impatient to find out.

Renee

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I don't know, it just seems to be a problem in some dogs. Ben was an anomaly in his line too. He got pretty overheated once when he was 10 months old and caught me by surprise but i'm not certain if that was a cause or a symptom. I think it was just in him and the fact that he was such an intense dog didn't help. I do know that being conscious of how slow i could keep him on the fetch and drive at trials when it was humid out did help a lot with running him. It was especially apparent to me a couple of years at that trial at Jeff's in July - you know how hot that trial always was. It's something i keep in mind even with the more heat tolerant ones when we start getting to trials mid-summer.

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Once a dog has really over-heated, I was told by my vet it makes them more susceptible from then on.

 

Have you had the thyroid check? My bc/mix had many problems and overheating was one of them. The vets tested her thyroid because they said it could be a symptom of a thyroid problem along with many other tihngs. Her thyroid was fine though.

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She doesn't really seem to be getting progressively worse or anything with the overheating. Rather, it's just something I've always had to be careful with. I want to wait and see if the supplements improve things before taking her to the vet. I can see this as being a situation of test after test ($ after $) with no real answers. Sorry to be so cynical; but I did get that way through experience. I do plan to take her though if I don't see improvement. I'm hoping if I do take her, that maybe we could set it up so she could have testing done immediately after working. Otherwise, we might not get anywhere. Thanks for the suggestion, it's something to add to the list to ask the vet.

Renee

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We had a day a couple of months ago at my trainer?s farm when both my dog and one of hers got the staggers ? presumably from heat and stress ? on the same day. It was hot, but not excessively so. Kirra and I were trying to gather about 450 lambs ? not long weaned, and decidedly uncooperative, even with a few old dry ewes in with them. It was on a reasonably steep hillside, and Kirra suddenly seemed to stop taking any commands ? then I realized she was staggering, so I gave up what we were trying do, and got to her to calm her down. I think in her case, it was a combination of heat, and physical and particularly mental stress, so that she was hyperventilating. That would line up with what was mentioned in the article Mark found. (BTW, Kirra seemed to recover after a few minutes R & R, and with the help of a back up dog, we were eventually able to bring the lambs in.)

 

That same day, we were battling with putting the lambs through the race for ear-tagging and vaccinating. Again, things were fairly stressful, and this time it was my trainer?s dog who seemed to be affected by heat and stress combination. Luckily there was a stock trough near by, so my trainer was able to dunk the dog into the (luke-warm) water straight away, and then calm her down ? and fortunately she recovered pretty quickly.

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My boy is not a "working dog". . he does Flyball and he's starting agility, so he thinks he's a working dog :rolleyes: ! I also notice he has about half the energy, and gets really overheated in the summer, so he's shaved twice a year when it gets really hot. We live in California, and he requires at least 2 hours of intense exercise a day, or he turns into a neurotic stinker -.- so we just decided to go for it. . an extra bonus is we don't have clumps of hair everywhere for a few months out of the year! :D 100% more stamina, happier, and works harder after the shave.

 

a lot of people make fun of him for being shaved, but it works for us. I know a lot of people dont want to do this, because of sunburn or messing up the coat or whatever. there's a lot of good advice here! I am so trying a bunch of the energy bars/drinks you guys recomended! I just wanted to wish you and Rae good luck with finding something that works :D

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I live in central Arizona and it is very difficult for me to keep my dog cooled off during "workouts" in the spring/summer months. It reached 94F today, and I didn't allow him outside to run but instead "exercised" him indoors.

I am often concerned about him overheating outside, since he's still a pup, so I typically will cut our exercise routine short if he starts to show signs of overheating. Once we get into the air conditioned house, ice cubes usually cool him off. If he's extremely hot, I dampen a towel with cool water, roll him over on his back and put the towel on his chest/belly. That seems to work well every time and it's not shockingly cold for him.

When he begins more intensive training, I will look into dietary supplements.

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