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Dehydration


What Is Dehydration?

Dehydration is a lack of water in the body, and can cause serious complications for pets and people alike.

What Causes Dehydration in Dogs?

Dehydration occurs when fluid levels drop to less than normal. This is due to either reduced water intake or increased fluid loss. Fluid loss can be due to overheating in hot weather or a bout of vomiting or diarrhea, especially in puppies.

What Are the General Symptoms of Dehydration in Dogs?

  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Depression

What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Is Dehydrated?

Dehydration may indicate a serious underlying problem. If you suspect that your dog is dehydrated, take him to a veterinarian immediately.

You may be able to detect dehydration at home by gently lifting the skin on the back of your dog’s neck or between the shoulder blades—unless your dog is seriously overweight or very thin, it should immediately return to a normal position. If he is lacking in fluids, the lifted skin may not quickly return to normal. Often, however, the signs of dehydration are not obvious, and only a veterinarian can provide proper diagnosis and treatment.

Are Certain Dogs Prone to Dehydration?

Dogs most at risk for dehydration are those who suffer from various illnesses such as:

  • Kidney disorders
  • Cancer
  • Infectious disease
  • Diabetic dogs whose condition is not regularly monitored

Or who are:

  • Elderly
  • Pregnant or nursing

How Is Dehydration Treated?

A veterinarian will administer intravenous or subcutaneous fluids, and run additional tests, if necessary, to determine the underlying cause of the condition.

How Can I Prevent Dehydration?

  • Provide clean water at all times
  • Change it frequently to ensure freshness
  • Wash your pet’s water bowl every day to prevent bacteria from forming
  • 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.
  • Monitoring water intake is especially important if he’s recovering from diarrhea, vomiting or other illnesses.
  • 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.