Dehydrated Fruit? Good! Dehydrated Dog? Bad
In the summer heat it is really easy for your dog to get dehydrated. Even if you keep your dog inside most of the time, dehydration can just sneak up on us. Dehydration can be as minor as just being really thirsty and a little lethargic to causing death. So make sure you know the signs and know what to do.
What is Dehydration?
It is simply fluid levels dropping to less than normal. This can be caused by a reduced water intake or from vomiting and diarrhea.
Symptoms of Dehydration
- Sunken eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
The easiest way to test your pets hydration is to check their skin. Lift the skin between their should blades. Pinch it between your fingers and lift it up, then let it go. If the skin immediately goes down flat and returns to normal, your dog is hydrated. If it does not return to normal and takes a long time to go back down, your pet is dehydrated.
This is not the only test and it does not test for the severity of dehydration. However, it is a good initial at-home assessment.
What to do
Call you vet immediately! If you have done the skin test and you think your pet is dehydrated you need to call your vet and give your pet some water right away. When you call let your vet know if your pet is drinking and how are they drinking the water. Are they lapping up as much as they can and can’t seem to get enough? Are they not interested in the water? Did they have a little bit but turned away? All of these behaviors can help your vet decide if you need to bring your pet in for treatment.
The primary goal for treating dehydration is to get fluids back into the body. This may be by just giving your pet fresh clean water. It may involve subcutaneous (under the skin) water injections, or in more serious cases, IV fluids. If your dog has been throwing up or having diarrhea then something else may be going that needs treatment in addition to the dehydration.
- Provide clean water at all times
- Change your pets water frequently to ensure freshness
- Wash your pet’s water bowl daily to prevent bacteria from forming, which can lead to other illness
- Monitor your dog’s water intake. Generally, a dog needs at least one ounce of water for each pound of body weight per day. If your dog is not drinking an adequate amount of water, seek veterinary advice.
- Purchase a water bowl with a weighted bottom to prevent your dog from knocking it over.
- Bring extra water when you’re traveling or exercising with your dog.
- If you notice your pet is drinking less than usual, check his mouth for sores or other foreign objects, such as burrs or sticks.
- Avoid chaining a dog outside, since he may get tangled up, preventing him from accessing his water bowl.
- Avoid keeping your dog in hot places, like your garage or backyard.
- Keep your toilet lid closed to interrupt your dog’s attempts at drinking from the toilet. This can be a source of bacteria which can cause other illness.