How to Treat Dog Dehydration

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Like their owners, dogs can suffer from dehydration, a bodily state characterized by abnormally low levels of water and vital minerals known as electrolytes, which include potassium, chloride and sodium. Water is necessarily for all biological functions, therefore making dehydration dangerous.

Various factors and conditions can contribute to your dog to becoming dehydrated, such as:

  • Episodes of vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Heatstroke
  • Fever
  • Illnesses, including cancer and kidney disease
  • Decreased food and water intake

Signs Your Dog is Dehydrated

The symptoms associated with dehydration in dogs include:

  • Lethargy and depression
  • Dry mouth and gums
  • Dry, sunken eyes
  • Heavy panting
  • Diminished appetite

Tip

  • Dehydration reduces skin elasticity. You can therefore assess if your dog is lacking body fluids by tugging softly on the skin between his shoulder blades or on the back of his neck. If the skin does not spring back into place instantly upon release, your dog may be dehydrated.

Warning

  • Dehydration may reflect a serious underlying condition and can quickly become a medical emergency. If you suspect your dog is dehydrated, take him to a veterinarian right away for evaluation and treatment.

Treatment for Canine Dehydration

If your dog is mildly dehydrated and not vomiting, you may be able to treat him at home by giving him an electrolyte solution orally. Consult your veterinarian for proper dosage. If your dog is suffering from more severe dehydration, however, the veterinarian will need to administer fluids, either intravenously or subcutaneously.

Preventing Canine Dehydration

  • Have fresh water available at all times, especially in hot weather.
  • Contact your veterinarian if you notice your dog is reluctant to drink water.
  • If your dog has a chronic condition that makes him prone to dehydration, such as kidney failure, ask your veterinarian about administering subcutaneous fluids at home.

Tip

  • According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a dog should drink at least an ounce of water per pound of body weight every day.

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