(Photo posted with permission of agents)

The Working Dog Center team has arrived back home and is preparing to start analyzing data. Over the past two weeks we monitored dogs screening at the Sarita Texas checkpoint and the tracking dogs who work the surrounding areas.

The objective of this study is to determine the impact of three hydration strategies in a hot and humid climate.

  • Water
  • Subcutaneous electrolyte
  • Oral electrolyte (Hydrolyte™)

Throughout each of the dogs’ shifts, we monitored their temperature, heart rate, body weight, blood and urine, and search performance.

A pilot study of these three hydration protocols was performed in 3 police dogs. We found no adverse effect of the oral electrolyte. In fact, dogs in the Hydrolyte™ group consumed four times as much fluid, maintained body weight and acid-base status, and had a statistically significant improvement in search performance.

Analyzing the same parameters in the Border Patrol dogs will help us further validate these findings and understand the impact of the added heat and humidity of this region. We also hope to study these strategies in a dry climate next summer at the Arizona border.

We will continue to share the findings of this study as they become available. You can follow this project on our website and see some great photos (provided by Tracy Darling) of the study on our Facebook page.

A special thanks to the dogs, handlers and staff of the Border Patrol for going above and beyond to ensure we were able to collect the necessary data. We also want to thank the AVMA, VMAT, SCAVMA, University of Washington, and the University of Pennsylvania..