Pooches work hard, too
By Sarah Carey
In working dogs, such as K-9 officers and rescue dogs, overheating can lead to dehydration, exhaustion or even death. But there are no evidence-based guidelines for preventing such heat-related issues. Now, UF researchers have conducted preliminary studies that may help fill that void and guide the prevention of heat-related illness in working dogs. The researchers recommend that, as much as possible, dogs work for short periods in morning and evening hours when the temperature is lower, and are kept in shady, well-ventilated areas. They also recommend dogs wear protective Kevlar vests in dangerous situations, because despite concerns, there isn’t evidence the vests contribute to overheating. In addition, specially designed cooling vests can help dogs cool down faster after strenuous work. The findings were presented earlier this year during the International Canine Sports Medicine Symposium. The study was led by Sheilah Robertson, Ph.D., formerly a professor of veterinary anesthesiology at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, now an assistant director of animal welfare at the American Veterinary Medical Association.