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Dehydrated Dogs May Not Drink Water

13 years ago

10th July, 2009 00h00

The tragic stories of the deaths of four dogs in three separate incidents in the Scottish Highlands and the two police dogs that died in a vehicle parked outside Nottinghamshire Police Headquarters are stark reminders of how vulnerable pets can be when in locked vehicles during hot weather. But it doesn’t have to be heat-wave weather conditions, like parts of the UK have been experiencing lately, to potentially cause hyperthermia (also known as heat-stroke) and dehydration in dogs. Taking sensible precautions when travelling with a pet in a vehicle in hot weather, such as those outlined by the Dogs Trust and RSPCA, are crucial to an animal’s well-being; but what can be done should a dog be suspected of suffering from heat-stroke? The first signs are excessive panting and drooling and other symptoms include red gums and a lack of co-ordination. An owner should douse the dog with cool water and then let it drink small amounts. The problem here is that dogs can be reluctant to drink when they are in this state and in particular water due to sensitivity against the chlorine in it. In these cases, a palatable oral rehydration fluid could be a better option to encourage drinking. During research into drinks for dogs back in 2003, it was noted that dogs can often be reluctant to consume enough fluids when dehydrated. Working with a Dutch chemist, Simon Van Dalsem B.V, JAM Pet foods, the veterinary supply company Kruuse created a formula that was isotonic replacing the correct balance of fluids and electrolytes to the dog’s body. The resulting product Oralade was launched this year in a ready-to-use formulation, available from veterinary practices, and can be given to dogs and cats. When the dog’s breathing starts to settle, it should be taken to a vet. “It would seem to make sense for dog owners to have a supply of Oralade handy. As well as in the extreme condition of heat-stroke, the product can also benefit dogs during exercise, older dogs, or when suffering from stress, or upset stomachs, or whelping, as, during these situations, dogs are more likely to dehydrate and have a lack of appetite,” explained Andrew Groom, Kruuse UK’s Country Manager. “The palatability trials with dogs and cats we have conducted have shown an 89 per cent take-up.”

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