Humans can be both dogged tired and doggone hot, but so can our dogs.
Now is the season.
Walking Sport or Fido around the block might be a good summer pastime, but is it a good training regimen for a hunting dog, a dog that might be tasked to cover 20 miles of cover per day?
Eden Prairie’s Jim Wood, a veterinarian who practices at Glen Lake Animal Hospital, knows of dogs who have been pushed too hard and too fast when it’s been too hot.
“They’re canine athletes, but you have to ease them into it, especially early season when it’s hot.
“Heat is the enemy,” he added. “If they’re gassed, go home.”
Dehydration can be a real problem. An early sign can be stress diarrhea. A dehydrated dog might also wobble when it’s standing and pant continuously.
An extremely dehydrated dog would have dry gums that turn fire-engine red.
“They’re trying to push blood to their skin,” said Wood.
Water is a remedy. Frequent water breaks help, getting a dog’s belly wet helps even more.
“The fastest way to cool a dog is to get it in the water,” said Wood. “Moving water or water that flows is best.
“Stock ponds can cause problems, as do puddles,” he added.
Wood says good nutrition is paramount, as is keeping your dog in shape.
“Don’t let your dog get heavy,” he said. “A lab that’s 20 pounds overweight is going to quit.”
Like nutrition, conditioning is key. Runs off-leash are better than walks. Running over difficult terrain is better than running on paved trails.
“Running on stuff toughens their pads,” said Wood. “That’s what the sled dog people do.”
Wood has also been experimenting with a dog supplement called Revive.
“You mix it with water,” he said. “It’s supposed to hydrate and help with recovery.”
The packaging says it helps dogs exercise longer and recover faster.
Under a taste-and-ingredients-dogs-love header, it says the product is more appealing than a plate of bacon.
“Lexy loves it,” said Wood, of his own dog’s penchant for the bacon-flavored liquid.
Lastly, Wood recommends moderation.
“Ease into the hunting season,” he said. “Go slow, especially early on. If you build every time you go out, you’ll be ready in no time.
Translation: Be the turtle, not the hare.