Subcutaneous fluids can be very helpful when dealing with a sick dog. Because subcutaneous fluids do not need to be injected into a specific location (such as a vein), they are often used for home treatment of renal disease in pets.
Some of the most commonly used fluids that are administered subcutaneously include saline, Ringer's solution and Plasma-Lyte. Fluids with dextrose should not be administered in this manner.
Dextrose administered subcutaneously is painful and can cause infection and inflammation, or necrosis (deadening of the tissue) at the injection location.
To administer fluids subcutaneously, a needle, a length of fluid tubing and a bag of fluid are necessary. The bag of fluid will have a clamp to control the flow of the liquid.
How to Administer
Attach the needle to one end of the tubing, and the sack to the other end. To flush the air out of the tubing, open the clamp on the fluid sack and allow it to run the length of the tube. Clean the area with alcohol before inserting the needle.
Always consult with a veterinarian before giving fluids in this manner to a dog. Use caution when administering more than 100 mL of liquid in a single location. If skin becomes taut, stop the flow of fluid and move to another location if needed.