Dehydration In Dogs
Quick Facts About Dehydration in Dogs
Dehydration in dogs can be a very serious, even life threatening condition. Almost all dogs are much smaller than humans, so their normal body functions can be easily interrupted by outside influences, such as heat, activity, hunger and thirst. For optimum health, a dog should drink approximately 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight every day.
One of the things that makes dehydration so dramatic for dogs is that it can come on very quickly. Approximately 75 percent of a dog’s body weight comes from water, so it only takes a small loss – 15 percent or less – to cause a detrimental effect. Water is important in nearly all bodily functions, and dramatic water loss can cause a dog’s body to systematically shut down.
There are a few observable symptoms of dehydration in dogs. The best indicator – for dehydration and many other health problems – is to observe your dog and be aware of their behavior and activities, including what they eat and drink. The most common symptoms of doggie dehydration include: lethargy, not eating, dry or sunken eyes, dry nose and mouth and increased heart rate.
Testing a dog’s gums can also indicate whether or not they have become dehydrated. Press lightly on the dog’s gum, and you will notice that the color changes briefly. In a healthy dog, the color will return to their gums almost immediately. When a dog gets dehydrated, however, it will take much longer for the color to come back to normal after pushing on their gum.
There are a number of ways to treat dehydration in dogs. If the dog became dehydrated because of exposure to excess heat, the first thing that must be done is to get them out of the heat and into a cool place. Dogs have a hard time cooling down when they are hot because they only sweat from two points on their bodies, their nose and their paws – that is why a dry nose is not a good thing for a hot dog. A dog will pant when they become overheated, and the panting is what can lead to dehydration because it causes loss of fluid.
Once the dog is in a cool place, give them water. Do not overload them too much water right away. Give them small amounts over time to replenish the water that has been lost. Pedialyte can also help hydrate a dog, because it provides electrolytes as well as fluids. Never give a dehydrated dog food and do not use ice packs to try and cool them off. Simply keep them in a cool place and have them drink a small amount of water or Pedialyte at frequent intervals over a period of time until they become hydrated again.
A few simple precautions can prevent dog dehydration: make sure they always have clean, fresh water, provide shade for outside dogs and keep them inside the house during extreme heat.