Dehydration can become a serious problem for dogs if it’s not treated quickly, so familiarity with the symptoms is crucial. Keep reading to learn the signs of dehydration in dogs and how to prevent it becoming a problem for your pooch.
Table of Contents
- What is Canine Dehydration
- What Are the Signs of Dehydration in Dogs?
- What Causes Dehydration in Dogs?
- How to Prevent and Resolve Dehydration in Dogs
- Related Posts
What is Canine Dehydration?
Simply put, canine dehydration occurs when a dog loses more water than he intakes. The result? There’s not enough water in the bloodstream, causing blood flow to slow. Eventually, with severe dehydration, organs begin to fail. Loss of consciousness may occur. And, if left untreated, dehydration ultimately becomes fatal.
Now, your pooch naturally expels water through panting and going potty. Water also evaporates through your dog’s paws. When dogs eat or drink, they restore water and electrolytes. Just like humans, dogs need electrolytes to maintain their bodies’ pH levels and preserve muscle and nerve functions.
What Are the Signs of Dehydration in Dogs
You may love to think of your pet pooch as 10% fur and 90% love, but did you know dogs are 70% water? Much like humans, canines require water for healthy bodily functions. Lack of hydration can quickly become a health emergency.
The following are signs of dehydration in dogs and being able to identify them quickly might alert you to a problem that requires swift attention.
Little or No Skin Elasticity
The easiest way to know whether your pooch is dehydrated is to check his skin elasticity. Pull up lightly on your dog’s skin. Does it bounce right back to normal? If it does, you’re in the clear. If not, take action. When the skin doesn’t instantly return to its natural position, your dog needs hydration.
As a pet parent, you may enjoy “booping” your dog’s adorable nose. Familiarise yourself with the look and feel of your dog’s nose so you can tell when it’s drier than normal. A hot, dry nose could mean trouble: fever, dehydration, or other conditions.
Find out more: Why is My Dog’s Nose Dry?
Depending on how sensitive or squirmy your pooch is, checking his gums may be a bit more difficult. However, it’s another effective way to check for dehydration.
Gently slide the lip out of the way and take note of your dog’’’s gum colour. To test for dehydration, press your finger into the gums. You should see the gums turn white. If your dog is dehydrated, the color should immediately restore when you lift your finger.
If it takes up to three seconds for the colour to restore, your dog may be dehydrated.
Humans sweat to cool down; dogs pant! Panting causes water to evaporate from your pup’s nose and mouth, which cools them down. So, it’s normal for happy, active dogs. However, excessive panting can signify dehydration.
Before, during, or after exercise, ensure your dog has access to fresh water to restore lost hydration due to panting. If your dog is panting from a bit of stress, excitement, or exercise, it’s likely normal. If the panting happens outside those circumstances, check for other signs of dehydration and consider calling your vet.
Fatigue or Drowsiness
Does your pooch seem particularly lethargic? Is he drowsy or disoriented? If so, check for other symptoms of dehydration and try hand-delivering him a bowl of fresh water or ice cubes.
Did your pup turn away his favorite treat? Has his food bowl remained full all day? If your dog has lost his appetite, offer him water or ice cubes to help get his hydration back on track. If he refuses to drink, it’s time to call the vet.
Severe dehydration prompts a canine’s body to pull fluids from wherever it can. This includes the fat pads behind the eyes. So, as a precariously parched pooch tries to direct fluid to his major organs, eye fluid will reduce, causing his eyes to sink into the sockets.
What Causes Dehydration in Dogs?
So, what causes dehydration in dogs? The underlying answer is a lack of fluids, which can be caused by a number of issues.
Improper Fluid Intake
For every pound your dog weighs, he should drink about an ounce of fluids per day. If you forget to fill his water bowl or aren’t giving him enough every day, it will lead to dehydration. As a pet parent, it’s vital to keep fresh water available and easily accessible for your pooch.
Vomiting and Diarrhea
One round of vomit or diarrhea may not be a reason to panic. However, if your pooch keeps losing fluids from either end, dehydration is eventually inevitable. Call your vet for assistance. If your pup can’t hold water in his stomach, then your vet will need to hydrate him under the skin or intravenously.
Illness or Fever
Chronic illnesses may cause dehydration. Liver or kidney disease, diabetes, and Cushing’s disease are just a few. Fever may also cause dehydration since the body evaporates fluids to cool down.
Some dogs are more sensitive to heat than others. However, heatstroke is possible for any overheated canine. As a dog’’’s body temperature rises above the healthy mark of 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, he will experience heat exhaustion, then heatstroke. During these life-threatening episodes, fluids evaporate quickly as the dog pants, causing dehydration.
How to Prevent and Resolve the Signs of Dehydration in Dogs
Closely monitoring your furry friend’s water intake is an efficient way to prevent dehydration. Though your pooch may not like it, regular vet check-ups help prevent or identify issues or illnesses that may make him prone to dehydration.
If you notice dehydration in your dog, immediately offer him fresh water. As he drinks fluids, his body will rehydrate.
If your dog is unable to drink or keep fluids down, make a trip to the emergency vet… and if you’re in any doubt about your dog’s hydration status, it’s best practice to touch base with canine medical professionals.
Summary – What Are the Signs of Dehydration in Dogs?
To sum it up, preventing a crisis as a pet parent is totally possible when you know the signs of dehydration in dogs!
By keeping your pup’s water bowl full, monitoring his activity levels, and seeking veterinary care when needed, you can help your dog stay happy and hydrated for years to come.
Has your dog ever been dehydrated? What were the signs of dehydration in your dog? Please tell me about your experiences or ask a question in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
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