Canine Hydration Optimization
Technical Report,15 Mar 2013,14 Sep 2015
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia United States
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Working dogs are relied upon to protect our national security and respond to disasters. These dogs often are subject to adverse environmental conditions including high temperatures and humidity levels which can lead to dehydration. Dog handlers currently use water W, subcutaneous fluids SQ, and oral electrolyte solutions OES to prevent dehydration. Safety and efficacy of these hydration strategies have not been previously studied. The aim of this study was to compare the effects on hydration status and performance in Border Patrol dogs in their various working environments. We hypothesized that for all hydration parameters there would be no difference between the oral electrolyte solution OES, water W and subcutaneous fluids SQ groups. Phase 1 found that in dogs conditioned to work in the hot humid environment screening vehicles at the Texas border, there was no detectable influence of hydration strategy on any parameter except fluid consumption, fractional Na excretion, and urine specific gravity. PhaseII found that hydration strategy did not impact performance or physiology in dogs conditioned for work mantracking in the hot and arid environment of the El Paso, TX Canine Training Station. No adverse effects of any strategy were identified. No performance enhancement could be detected with any strategy however, palatability of the oral electrolyte solution remained high and was associated with a higher handler satisfaction.