Approximately sixty percent of your dog’s body is water! That’s more or less six pounds of liquid for every 10 pounds of dog! Even though dogs don’t “sweat” as we do, dehydration can be a severe problem and cause problems like muscle spasms. It is your responsibility to make sure your dog is drinking enough!
Dogs are most susceptible to dehydration in the summer. Sometimes they just so busy they “forget” to drink! From time to time they may get too overheated and do not want water. CAUTION! They could be on their way to heat exhaustion!
Diarrhea, liver, and kidney diseases are also reasons for dehydration.
Make it a habit especially in the summer, to have SEVERAL water bowls or buckets, filled with clean, fresh water, located where your dog will most likely need them and use them. Encourage “time out” when playing or exercising, for a drink. In the summer, get into the habit of carrying water with you, when walking or hiking bring a bottle for you, and a bottle for your pal.
Dog dehydration warning signs
1. Fever in severe cases
4. Lack of appetite
7. Lifting the skin on your dog’s head. If your dog is hydrated enough, the skin will have elasticity and immediately spring back. If it doesn’t, your dog could be dehydrated.
How will I know if my dog is dehydrated?
1. Lift your dog’s upper lip. The gums over the teeth should be pink. Press the flat part of your index finger on that part of their gum. The pressure will turn the spot white. If it becomes pink in 2 seconds, he or she is not in danger.
2. If it takes 3 to 4 seconds, your dog needs to be seen by your vet immediately. The veterinarian will most likely recommend rehydrating your pet with IV fluids.
1. Encourage him to drink water – you may need a needless syringe or turkey baster
2. Slip ice chips into his or her mouth
3. Flavor their water with no-fat, no-salt chicken or beef broth
4. Soak a clean towel in water, and squeeze the liquid into their mouth
5. A 50/50 mix of Gatorade, Powerade or Pedialyte to their water
6. Freeze a combination of 50/50 water and Gatorade, Powerade or Pedialyte, in an ice cube tray -place a treat, so it sticks out a bit. Let your dog lick or chew the ice cube to get the treat.
7. If your dog is not diabetic, try a Popsicle
8. Add water to their food, especially in the summer.
9. Get them out of the sun!
10. Cool them off by gently spraying them with water and bring them inside for the air conditioning. Cooling them off may stimulate them to drink.
Do not let your dog drink too much. One to two ounces every 2 hours is a good start. If you don’t see any improvement in 6-8 hours, it’s time to visit the vet!
For severe dehydration, don’t waste time. Get your dog to the veterinarian immediately!
Management is critical for keeping your dog adequately hydrated. Make sure there are plenty of water bowls, they are accessible and full of clean, fresh water. Take the time, to watch to make sure they are drinking enough. Don’t rush them! A word of warning, just because your dog is poolside don’t expect him to drink from the pool.
1. Some dogs will not swallow pool water because of the chlorine content.
2. If you have a salt-water pool, it could be hazardous to their health!
3. Dogs have fallen into the pool and drowned, merely because they were thirsty!
Karen A. Soukiasian is the owner of Good Dog! — Dog Training in St. Augustine, Florida. You can follow Karen on Facebook.