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Thursday, 13 January 2011

Sparking discussion about electrolytes

We have a Labrador who is a working dog and after a days picking up/beating he's totally exhausted. My sister is a keen horse rider and mentioned that they sometimes use electrolytes on their horses after a long race or cross country etc.
Does anybody know much about electrolytes and where I can obtain some?
Angie Stokes, by email


  1. There are two I know of - Pow Wow is an isotonic drink for dogs (Google Pow Wow for dogs)that is used by a lot of Flyballers (quite expensive) and I have used Synergo which is in powdered form to be added to water (and works out cheaper) Pow Wow is flavoured and most dogs love it, but it does, apparently, upset some dogs tums.
    The benefit (or not) of electrolytes/isotonic drinks for dogs gets discussed a lot amongst flyball people, and thought you might find some of the viewpoints/experiences useful.

    Horses (and humans) are different to dogs in that they sweat a lot and therefore lose water vapour and electrolytes through sweat. Dogs only sweat a little (through their feet) and cool themselves by water evaporating off their mucous membranes - so use mainly water but not many electrolytes. What is important is replacing the lost water (if my dogs are racing I will often take water flavoured very slightly with a small amount of meat juices to encourage them to drink enough - although do control how much they have in one go or they will guzzle it all)
    Another suggestion is to feed a higher protein food the evening before the shoot and for a few days - this ensures they have enough protein to repair any muscle damage they may have got that may not be obvious to us.
    There is also a high energy bar available - Pemmikam Kronch bar that can be fed to keep his energy up during the day itself.

  2. Excellent, thank you for that. I will indeed google pow wow
    Thanks again

  3. The first thought that came to me was, is he fit enough? I was wondering that perhaps the reason he gets tired was that he doesn't get enough exercise on the days when he isn't beating. After all, it's quite rigorous and he would need to have a reasonable level of fitness.
    If that is so, then the answer is to get him generally fitter, not to give him any supplements.
    My former spaniel used to do the beating line until he was about 10 and went deaf but we always did a two-hour, off the lead walk every day all year round, so he was in good shape and was hardly tired at the end of the shoot.
    If it is making your dog so tired, and you think he is getting enough exercise normally, I would consult your vet before dosing him with high-energy stuff.
    Julia Lewis