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Energy intake and expenditure of improvised explosive device detection dogs

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Improvised explosive device detection (IDD) dogs explore up to 40 km of land daily and therefore have energetic demands that may be above the National Research Council’s requirement for working dogs. This study was designed to quantify metabolic energy intake (MEI) and total energy expenditure (TEE) in a group of IDD dogs. Two groups of dogs that had undergone different training protocols (CP1, n=8 and CP2, n=11) underwent a 5-day deployment simulation that consisted of combined road clearing, orbit and point-to-point activities and lasted approximately 9 h per day. The CP1 dogs were fed according to the IDD Marine Corps Manual, while CP2 dogs were offered additional calories based on pilot study data of energy expenditure. The MEI was calculated based on feed intake rates and chemical composition of the diets. TEE was quantified using the doubly-labelled water technique in 2 of the CP1 dogs and 7 of the CP2 dogs. During the 5-day deployment simulation the MEI ranged from 189-310 kcal/bodyweight (BW)0.75 per day, with the CP2 dogs at the higher end because they were offered more feed. The TEE ranged between 375-507 kcal/BW0.75 per day, above the MEI, suggesting the dogs were in negative energy balance and metabolic reserves within the body were combusted for energy production. These findings reveal that energy requirements of deployed military working dogs are higher than previously published metabolic energy requirements of working dogs.
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Keywords: canine; exercise; military; nutrition

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 7, 2015

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  • 'Comparative Exercise Physiology' is the only international peer-reviewed scientific journal specifically dealing with the latest research in exercise physiology across all animal species, including humans. The major objective of the journal is to use this comparative approach to better understand the physiological, nutritional, and biochemical parameters that determine levels of performance and athletic achievement. Core subjects include exercise physiology, biomechanics, gait (including the effect of riders in equestrian sport), nutrition and biochemistry, injury and rehabilitation, psychology and behaviour, and breeding and genetics. This comparative and integrative approach to exercise science ultimately highlights the similarities as well as the differences between humans, horses, dogs, and other athletic or non-athletic species during exercise. The result is a unique forum for new information that serves as a resource for all who want to understand the physiological challenges with exercise.
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