Understanding Water Balance and Strategies for Hydration in Sled Dogs

By Ronald McPhee | Sled Dogs

Mar 25
Understanding Water Balance and Strategies for Hydration in Sled Dogs

The daily loss of water in the dog must always be balanced with his daily intake of water, all in order to prevent dehydration. That’s why it must be understood how the water is lost and brought into the dog’s body. Each dog can increase its total water through burning energy for muscle energy, through nutrition and through drinking water intake.

How do dogs get their water?

How-do-dogs-get-their-waterWith a dog that eats meat or dry dog foods soaked with water, 70 percent of what he eats is just water. They take the rest of the necessary liquids through drinking water or eating the snow. Likewise, a small amount of fluid comes from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that convert to muscle energy. This way of creating water in the body can contribute to the creation of as much as 10 percent of the total water that the dog must receive every day. Sled dogs mostly get their water through just creating muscle energy. Mostly the amount of fluid they receive is balanced with the lost amount.

The loss of water in a dogs body

The dog loses fluid through sweat, breath, saliva, feces, and urine, but the dogs do not lose much water through sweating, because the only place where they sweat is the lower part of their paws. How these factors affect a dog depends on the diet, workload of the dog, environment, and also the health of the dog itself.

The dog living in the house is in the place controlled by air conditioning and other means, and he loses about a thousand milliliters through the urine, about a hundred milliliters through feces and about 300 milliliters through saliva and water vapor during breathing. But if we put that dog on the open and make him a sprint racing dog, he starts to lose 1,000 milliliters of the liquid through the urine and a hundred and fifty milliliters through the feces. Also, depending on the outdoor temperature, if it is below 0 degrees, this dog will lose as much as 300 milliliters of water through breathing during an hour’s running and about 800 millimeters during its rest in the other 23 hours.

How much water does sled dog need?

If this dog becomes a sled dog and starts to run long distances, its water loss is increased to 2250 milliliter per day through the urine and about two hundred and fifty milliliters per day through the feces.

The dog from our example, if he is active for twelve hours and uses about 40 percent of the maximum load, then rests for another twelve hours at a temperature below twenty degrees or less, he will start to lose about two thousand to two thousand and five hundred milliliters of water while active and about 400 milliliters of water at rest. So, in relation to a pet dog we keep in our home, a sprinting dog loses about two times more water, and the sled dog that runs long distances loses about 4 times more.

About the Author

Dog sledding did help in shaping society because dogs have been an important part of our society since, well – always. The most iconic way that people worked side by side with dogs is in order to establish a life in the Arctic Circle, and that was done with dog sledding. Today, there are even dog sledding tours you can be a part of, and they give people the opportunity to experience that special connection that is made between sled dogs and sled drivers.