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Old 08-09-2010, 01:36 AM   #1
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Default Dog Dehydration

This morning I took Roxanne, a female, 38 lb whippet/pit mix, on a jog. We jog together every other morning anywhere from 2-6 miles. I live in Phoenix and even early in the morning, temperatures can hover barely below 100 degrees. This morning, it was cooler than usual for the summer, about 95 but with higher than average humidity. In an attempt to get Roxanne to drink more water (because I wanted to go on some very long runs) I poured a little bit of low sodium chicken broth into her water both last night and this morning before running. She drank more water than usual and she also ate some food which is unusual for her to do before running. She has done the 6 miles in the past just fine but this morning, after we got about 3 miles in, she seemed like she was really lagging behind and she would stop in shade often. She peed a little about 5 or 6 times. Her tail was stiff and barely shaking. I couldn't tell if she though I was going to get mad at her for peeing or if her stomach hurt from eating and drinking before running or if she was dehydrated. I had cold water which she accepted in small amounts at a time. Once, in the past, she got dehydrated while we were hiking. She exhibited similar symptoms. She makes sure to stay in the shade, the further we went the more she stopped, shes became very sluggish and lethargic, and her panting was relentless. Unfortunately there are cases of dogs dying in Phoenix from dehydration while exercising with their owners. I even tried to give her a little bit of my GU electrolyte gel hoping it would help her but she wasn't so into the taste. It has been about 12 hours now and she seems perfectly fine. I've been checking her gums because I hear that's how to tell if she is dehydrated or not and they seem fine but I guess I don't have much to compare it to. I also read that the skin will not be very elastic if she is dehydrated and when i grab the skin above her neck it immediately pops back into place. I guess i'll have to resort to only bringing her on short runs from now on. If anyone has any suggestions on how to hydrate a dog and or things to watch out for, i'm all ears.

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Old 08-09-2010, 01:51 AM   #2
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I live in an area that is horribly humid in the summer (I'm melting as I write this!) and dehydration is something vets around here make sure to keep owners informed about. Besides the obvious sticky and dry gums, I, too, was told to watch the elasticity of the skin as another symptom. If you pinch the skin around the back of the neck, the longer it takes to return to normal the higher the degree of dehydration the dog is experiencing. Vomiting, diarrhea, and refusing to drink are other symptoms. A 50/50 mix of Pedialyte was suggested if the dog was dehydrating.
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Old 08-09-2010, 01:10 PM   #3
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Hi RoxannesDad and welcome to the forum!

I can barely imagine what it must be like going for a jog in Phoenix at this time of year! It doesn't get anywhere near as hot and never as dry up here in New Elgand, but mine can get overheated just the same. Fortunately for us, we're never far from a pond or creek and once they jump in, cool down and take a swallow, they're good to go again.

I believe the sluggishness and lethargy are signs of dehydration, panting along with it sounds like overheating. As far as getting Roxanne to drink before you leave the house, I'd leave the low-sodium broth be. You may know that she is going to need fluid once you get going, but if she isn't thirsty while youa re still at home, she won't want to drink. And the package may say "low sodium: on it, but it still has an obscene amount of sodiumm especially for a dog. The result is that once she gets going, she will be even more dehydrated thanks to the sodium.

I think if you want Roxanne to be your jogging buddy, you're stuck carrying a special water bottle for her and stopping every so often so she can get a drink.
http://www.examiner.com/x-677-Dogs-E...three-products

You might want to consider investing in some high tech gear to help Roxanne cope with the heat. It won't prevent dehydration, but keeping her cool could go a long way in making the jog easier for her to take.
http://www.helpingudders.com/CoolingVests.htm
http://www.50degree.com/custom/index.cfm?ID=38065
http://northcoastpets.com/cooling_vest.htm?96224400

And here is an article on heat stress in canines from one of the companies that sells cooling gear.
http://www.50degree.com/files_custom/8832_1737.pdf
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Old 08-09-2010, 02:06 PM   #4
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JGLI also mentioned something to me that I didnt thnk of, my dog is great with heat.. she can carry on for a long time. However humidity will kill her.. JGLI explained why which I didnt see mentioned in this thread, when high humidity they can't adjust their temperature as good with panting cause it wont vaporate from their tounge to cool their body off. Which means that the high humidity despite lower temps is still worse Tasha does not do well with the high humidity at all but heat itself is no big issue for her...

also do not let her eat before a run, reason is that the tummy sack can twist over itself and that will kill your dog in about 20 minutes. It's called bloat.. usually hitting dogs with a deep chest, more commonly the large dogs but I know you have a whipper mix and they have that chest too..
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Old 08-09-2010, 02:11 PM   #5
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I know where I live as soon as there are heat warnings they tell people KEEP ALL PETS INSIDE IN A/C when ever possible. My dogs go at night now this summer, but even some nights its just too hot. Luckliy we have a little pool we can play in in the backyard. Be really careful with your dogs and high humidity.

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Old 08-09-2010, 02:24 PM   #6
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Well there are two things going on - overheating, which can be worse in regions with high humidity, and dehydration, which is lack of water. You can suffer from dehydration without being overheated.

ETA most homes don't have a/c around here so on those rare occasions when it gets really hot we make do with fans.
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Last edited by skunkstripe; 08-09-2010 at 02:28 PM..

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