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Maintenance energy requirements of odor detection, explosive detection and human detection working dogs

By R. A. Mullis, A. L. Witzel, J. Price

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Despite their important role in security, little is known about the energy requirements of working dogs such as odor, explosive and human detection dogs. Previous researchers have evaluated the energy requirements of individual canine breeds as well as dogs in exercise roles such as sprint racing. This study is the first to evaluate the energy requirements of working dogs trained in odor, explosive and human detection. This retrospective study evaluated twenty adult dogs who maintained consistent body weights over a six month period. During this time, the average energy consumption was 13638 kcal.BW kg0.75 or two times the calculated resting energy requirement (RER=70 kcal.BW kg0.75). No statistical differences were found between breeds, age or sex, but a statistically significant association ( p=0.0033, R-square=0.0854) was seen between the number of searches a dog performs and their energy requirement. Based on this study's population, it appears that working dogs have maintenance energy requirements similar to the 1974 National Research Council's (NRC) maintenance energy requirement of 132 kcal.BW kg0.75 (National Research Council (NRC), 1974) and the 13942 kcal.BW kg0.75 reported for young laboratory beagles (Rainbird & Kienzle, 1990). Additional research is needed to determine if these data can be applied to all odor, explosive and human detection dogs and to determine if other types of working dogs (tracking, search and rescue etc.) have similar energy requirements.

Publication Title PeerJ
Volume 3
Issue 767
Pages e767
ISBN/ISSN 2167-8359
Language English
Author Address Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Age
  2. Animals
  3. Breed differences
  4. Breeds
  5. Canidae
  6. Canine
  7. Carnivores
  8. Diets
  9. Dogs
  10. Energy
  11. Explosives
  12. Feeding
  13. Mammals
  14. odors
  15. peer review
  16. sex differences
  17. vertebrates
  18. Working animals
  1. peer review