Water is essential to dogs, as they depend on it to maintain appropriate health. In fact, water makes up about 80 percent of your pet’s body and serves as the basis for all of its biological processes. Dog dehydration can occur when your pet’s fluid levels drop dramatically. Since this can be an extremely serious condition, it is important for you to recognize the symptoms of canine dehydration as described below.
Warning Signs of Dehydration in Dogs
If you think that your dog may be dehydrated, gently pull the skin up at the back of the neck. If the skin does not fall back to its normal position within one or two seconds, your pet may be dehydrated. Additionally, the longer it takes for your dog’s skin to return to normal, the more serious its condition is.It can be quite difficult performing the above test on an older pet, as the skin of senior dogs is not as elastic as that of younger animals. Additionally, it can be very hard conducting the test on overly skinny or obese pets as well. In these cases, if your pet is displaying any other dehydration symptoms as listed below, it is best to seek veterinary care. Signs of dehydration in dogs:
- Loss of Skin Elasticity
- Sunken, Dull Eyes
- Loss of Appetite
- Dry, Sticky Gums
- Lethargy / Weakness
- Urinating too Much or too Little
- Shock (Advanced Stages)
Dog Dehydration Treatment
Now you know how to recognize dehydration symptoms in dogs, how to treat canine dehydration? There are many things that can cause your dog to become dehydrated including heat stroke, aging, pregnancy, nursing and illness. However, all too often, dehydration is a symptom of an underlying condition such as kidney disease, infectious diseases, diabetes or cancer. As such, it is imperative that you take your dog to a veterinarian if you suspect dehydration.
Your vet will determine the severity of your pet’s condition and begin IV fluid therapy. Additionally, a physical exam and various laboratory tests may be necessary to determine the exact cause of your dog’s dehydration. If an underlying cause is found, treatment will then be directed at correcting the problem.
Preventing Canine Dehydration
In some cases, there are ways that you can help prevent your pet from becoming dehydrated. First of all, it is important that your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times. Additionally, wash your pet’s bowls each day to prevent bacteria from forming on them, and monitor your dog’s water consumption.
If your dog does not seem to be drinking an adequate amount of water, make an appointment for a checkup. This is especially important if it is summer or if your pet is pregnant, nursing or recovering from an illness. Other ways to help prevent canine dehydration include using a weighted water bowl, bringing water with you on trips and keeping your pet inside during extremely hot weather.
Dehydration can be a serious condition when not treated immediately, and a dehydrated dog can fade rather quickly. In many cases, the prevention tips described above can help prevent your pet from becoming dehydrated. However, if your pet becomes dehydrated despite your prevention efforts, you need to see a veterinarian right away.