Comparison of Three Rations in Military Scout Dogs Under Moderate Thermal Stress
ARMY MEDICAL RESEARCH AND NUTRITION LAB DENVER CO
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To determine whether Standard Item dog foods dry would provide sufficient nutrients to permit military working dogs to maintain body weight and work efficiently in warm climates, 3 rations were compared in German Shepherd dogs undergoing Army Scout Dog Training at Ft. Benning, Ga., during July, Aug., and Sept., 1968. The rations were the two Standard Item dry dog foods and a specially-formulated dry ration MSD. Weight loss occurred in half of the dogs which completed 12 weeks of training. However, as a group, those dogs fed MSD gained weight while those fed the two Standard Item diets lost weight. At least 50 kcal. absorbed per pound of body weightday were required to prevent weight loss. MSD contains approximately 50 more calories as digestible energy, and each of its macronutrients protein, fat, carbohydrate, dry matter was 10-20 more digestible. Thus, not only does MSD contain more calories but its overall digestibility was 94, compared with 80 for the Standard Item rations. A ration having the palatability and nutrient characteristics of MSD is strongly recommended for military dogs. Moderate to high ambient temperature 75-99F especially when combined with high relative humidities 95-75 are poorly tolerated by dogs. In this study, effects ranged from death to milder forms of heat exhaustion. When even slightly overheated, many dogs were inattentive to instruction and were easily distracted. Nearly all dogs consumed less on the hottest days.
- Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine