How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Dehydrated?
And what do you do if he is?
Hot summer days can be hard on your dog. Just like you, they can overheat, but unlike you, they can’t just go get a drink of water, unless of course, you have provided well for their needs. Although summertime isn’t the only time a dog can get dehydrated, it’s the most common time that it can happen.
As a quick refresher, dehydration is caused when the body, human or animal, eliminates more fluids than it is taking in. Bodies need water to function properly, without it the blood flow can be disrupted which causes problems for all the organs, because they, as well as the muscles and nerves, will not receive the necessary electrolytes that the blood carries. Because it can be so deadly to your pup, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of dehydration.
Warning signs your dog is dehydrated…
Being able to recognize and respond to these signs right away could save your dog’s life.
One of the best and first things you should check is their skin elasticity. Typically, if you were to carefully take hold of your dog’s skin by his shoulder blades, then raise it up and let it go, the skin would fall right back to where it was. But if your dog is dehydrated, it will take longer to do so. A good idea is to try this when there is no concern about dehydration to see how the skin naturally responds, then you will know if something is wrong when you try it another time. Other signs to watch for are…
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of energy
- Excessive panting
- Gums are sticky, dry and white
- Thick saliva
- Nose and eyes appear dry
What to do if your dog is dehydrated…
If your dog is vomiting, it’s best to wait until the vomiting has stopped for a while, if it doesn’t stop, you should take them to the vet.
- Make sure your dog has plenty of cool, clean water to drink
- You can increase his hydration by offering him electrolyte supplements (flavorless Pedialyte, which is used for children, is also good for your pup.)
- Offer him ice chips
- Offer him beef or chicken broth
- Give him an opportunity and a place to cool down
A word to the wise:
- NEVER leave your dog in the car unattended, especially when it is hot outside.
- Exercise them when the day is cooler.
- Make sure when they are outside, that they have plenty of access to shade.
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