The nanosecond pulses of a dye laser oscillator based on the excited-state intramolecular proton-transfer reaction (IPT) of salicylamide and 2'-hydroxylphenyl benzimidazole dyes have been studied as a function of several experimental parameters. To explain the operation of this laser a numerical four-level kinetic model was developed until the lasing properties of these dyes, in the presence of a variable oxygen concentration and pumped with a double pulse technique, could be reproduced. This was possible only by assuming that the efficiency of the laser is controlled by the absorption cross-section of a transient state with a lifetime in the nanosecond-picosecond range, which was tentatively identified as a ground state tautomeric species. (orig.).