Working dogs in the heat - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Working dogs in the heat

This was written by a friend of mine who spent years working as an emergency vet tech and treated many dogs for heat stroke. very good information



Heat stroke and heat exhaustion is something all K9 handlers must be knowledgeable about. Its not simply seeing that your dog is panting and/or lethargic, but knowing the resting, as well as working temperature of Your dog and what to do in the case of heat stroke/exhaustion. Heat stroke can kill any dog if not treated immediately an aggressively.

"Once the heat stroke occurs, damage to the dog’s muscles, organs, and metabolic processes can occur. Heat stroke in dogs is a potentially life threatening condition that requires immediate medical treatment."

Normal temperature for dogs is 100 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mucus membranes (gum color) should be pink and moist, not red or dark pink (injected) or pale/white. Pressing your finger against the guns and timing how long it takes for the color to return is called capillary refill time.. Normal CRT is 1.5 to 2 seconds. Anything longer or shorter, take note.

Also knowing your dogs resting and working heart rate (HR) is important when working in hot temperatures. a fast, thready pulse or a slow, weak pulse are also signs something is not right.

Know your dogs resting temperature and working temperature. Not all dogs will run at the same temp, your dog may run higher or lower than anyone else, but if you don't know whats normal, you won't know when something is wrong.

If your dog has a rectal temperature higher than 1 degree over its normal working temp, the dog should be rested and cooled until a normal temp has been reached, the dog is properly hydrated, rested and ready for work.

If you think your dog is having a heat related issue, take a rectal temp. This takes moments and can help you avoid the condition worsening.

Cooling your dog: NEVER use ice water or even cold water (even to drink) to cool down your dog. Instead, use tepid or room temperature water. Depending on how hot your dog is, you can pour the water over the dog and use a fan (if available) focusing on the pads of the feet, the inguinal (inner thigh for male and female... testicle area for males) and neck (jugular area). Dogs do not have sweat glands remember and those areas have the largest blood vessels that when cooled will help the dogs internal temperature decrease. Take the temp every 5 minutes while cooling is going on and get your K9 to a vet ASAP.

Stop all cooling measure when the dogs rectal temp reaches 103.5, dry the dog off and continue to monitor the dogs temperature every 10 minutes to make sure that the dog does not become hypo-thermic (too cool). The dogs body will continue to cool on its own, you do not want the dogs temperature to drop below 100 degree F. If this happens, wrap the dog in blankets and get the dog to the vet ASAP.

Dogs can take on various symptoms of hyperthermia, from excessive panting, drooling and foaming at the mouth, to aggitation, barking, muscle tremors (ataxia) breathing difficulties, collapse, seizures, diarrhea, lethargy and ultimatley death. Heat stroke is not something to play around with, take measures to cool your dog down while en route to the vet.
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post #2 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 05:51 PM
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Thank you Renee for this post, it should be a sticky!

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post #3 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 06:04 PM
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Agreed, this should be a sticky. There is a YouTube clip on the first page of the thread below that shows an excellent response by a handler and a vet clinic for an overheated K9.

https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...-dog-dies.html

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post #4 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 06:23 PM
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Renee, can I copy that to our club's page?
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post #5 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Absolutely copy it!! One of our dogs in Afghanistan got a little overheated yesterday and this prompted me to get my friend to write this up for me. I am sending it everywhere and shipping rectal thermometers overseas
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post #6 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 08:00 PM
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Thanks!
Temperature of 100 degrees and high humidity tomorrow.
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post #7 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 08:23 PM
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Thanks for posting! We actually quit training for the summer b.c my dog got overheated. After her bitework, she became wobbly on her legs and was panting heavily. We were sitting down after working, and I noticed something wasn't right with her, so stood up to take her for a walk, and she could hardly stand. Everyone rushed over, and we cooled her down with water on her paws and abdomen area, and after she was ok, let her drink a little. But I quit. She's an indoor dog, not acclimated to this kind of heat, and our club practices from about 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and usually the bite work is at high noon!
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post #8 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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us too
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post #9 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 08:29 PM
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Sadly 'working dogs' can't quit....
Though our training is not mandatory as a SAR or police K9 would be when needed in an urgent situation, we did cancel 2 weeks ago due to heat, but the heat hasn't let up so training went on the past 2 weekends. There is a Rottie in our group that I'm concerned with, more than the GSD's and Malinois. He pants and drools with gusto.

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post #10 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 08:50 PM
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Thanks for the reminder; I know it is more brutal there than here this summer but everywhere is hot.

I carry a baby rectal thermometer you can buy that is digital and has a flexible tip and a box of probe covers. Always in the outside pocket of the pack. Very easy to insert and no fear of it breaking off.

Nancy



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