Humans and pets drink water to keep the body functioning properly. After all, drinking water ensures that you stay healthy and hydrated especially when recovering from an ACL injury.
However, the body tends to let water out through natural processes like sweating or urination. So if you lose too much liquid in the body, it could lead to dehydration.
Dehydration is harmful to your pet’s health. This condition can weaken your canine’s vital organs. In some cases, it could lead to serious injury or even death without proper and timely treatment. That said, learning about dehydration in dogs can help you avoid it.
Let’s look at how the condition can affect your pet and what you can do to keep it hydrated.
How Does Dehydration Happen?
Water comes out of your dog’s body whenever it sweats, urinates, or defecates. If your pet’s body doesn’t consume enough fluids, it could restrict blood flow and reduce the amount of oxygen delivered to the organs and tissues.
Why Does My Dog Get Dehydrated?
The following factors can leave your pet feeling dehydrated:
- Conditions like heatstroke or fever
- Vomiting, diarrhea, or panting
- Frequent urination caused by kidney failure and diabetes
What are the Signs of Dehydration in Dogs?
Not sure if your canine companion is properly hydrated? Here are some symptoms to look out for:
- Less elastic skin
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting with or without diarrhea
- Less energy
- Hollow and dry-looking eyes
- Dry nose
- Dry and moist gums
- Thick saliva
How Can I Tell If My Pet Isn’t Hydrated?
Some signs may not be as visible as others so you can conduct simple tests to confirm whether your dog is dehydrated or not. First, you can check the elasticity of your pet’s skin by following these steps:
- Gently hold a pinch of your pet’s skin close to its shoulder blades.
- Lift the skin up, then release it gently.
- Observe your pet’s skin as it returns to its position. If your dog is well-hydrated, the skin will quickly stretch back into place. If your dog is dehydrated, it’ll take longer for the skin to return back to place.
You can also examine your dog’s gums to check if it’s dehydrated. To perform this test, softly press your pet’s gums with your finger. If your dog is properly hydrated, the area should turn white and then go back to pink almost immediately. The capillary refill takes longer for dogs that lack hydration.
How Long Does Dehydration Last in Dogs?
Your pet can survive without drinking water for about 72 hours (three days). However, it’ll show signs of dehydration after the first 24 hours. Go beyond that and your furry friend will slowly feel weaker and weaker.
What Can I Do For My Dehydrated Dog?
Knowing how to treat dog dehydration at home is essential to your canine’s safety. Here’s everything you need to do if your pet is feeling parched.
- Take your dog indoors – Get your pet out of hot areas that’ll just make it even more thirsty. Take it to a cooler spot indoors or a place without enough shade.
- Encourage them to drink up – If your dog experiences mild dehydration, give it water or an electrolyte drink. Don’t forget to ask your vet about how much fluid your dog needs. A ⅛ cup of fluid per hour is enough to rehydrate small pets while a ¼ cup of fluid per hour is good for larger canines. If your pet is showing signs of severe dehydration, call your vet right away.
- Monitor your dog’s condition – Check to see if your pet will feel better within the next few hours after getting hydrated. Otherwise, call your vet.
- Rest up – Take the rest of the day to relax indoors. Stay in a cool place and let your dog take a nap.
How Fast Can My Dog Recover From Dehydration?
Serious cases of dehydration translate to a lengthier recovery. The length of recovery will depend on two factors:
- The severity of the case
- The cause behind the dehydration
For instance, serious dehydration cases that caused your pet’s organs to weaken may require extra care. For example, your pet may spend a day at the vet until they receive IV fluids and reach a safe hydration level.
How Do I Help My Pet Stay Hydrated?
Dog dehydration is easy to avoid as long as your pet is getting the proper intake of fluids every day. Help your canine get its fill of water with these helpful tips:
Use the right size of water bowl
Your pet can’t drink water if its bowl is too big or small. The size will depend on the size of your dog so make sure your pooch can properly drink from the bowl it uses.
Give your pet a bowl full of water every day
Start by filling up your dog’s water bowl in the morning. Monitor their liquid intake throughout the day and don’t forget to refill your pet’s bowl when it’s time for dinner.
Keep water bowls in different areas of the house
Make sure your pet drinks water even when it’s playing around the house. Make sure that every floor has a water bowl and install water fountains if possible.
Keep your toilet seat closed
A closed toilet seat will help keep your canine from popping its head inside and drinking toilet water. Toilet water can be full of harmful bacteria that could make your pet sick.
Feed your dog wet food
You can also help your dog stay hydrated by feeding it wet food, which has more water content than other types of food. When serving wet dog food, make sure to keep the water at a 1:1 ratio to encourage your pet to consume more water.
Pack water during outdoor activities
Dehydration in dogs can happen during long strolls, outdoor runs, or long car rides. Give your pet fresh water while he’s outside by keeping its bowl full of fresh water.
Give them a cool treat
Did you know that dogs enjoy eating ice cubes? An ice cube can help them stay hydrated, especially on hot days. You can even prepare frozen treats like watermelon or cantaloupe chunks. If you’re on the road, don’t forget to bring a cooler with ice cubes so your dog can stay hydrated while traveling.
Don’t leave your canine on a chain or leash
Tethering your pet outdoors for too long can make him wrap his leash around poles or trees. When this happens, it’ll shorten the length of the leash and your dog won’t be able to make it to its water bowl. Stay with your dog when you tether him outside or better yet make sure they stay indoors. You can also make your pet stay in a crate or kennel instead but make sure the kennel has its own bowl of water nearby.
Keep Your Pet Refreshed Every Day
Water is essential to your dog, and it’s just as important as nutrients like protein and carbohydrates. Make it a point to give your dog the right amount of water so it can stay hydrated and healthy. And if your dog gets too parched, make sure you contact your vet immediately so your pet can receive the right treatment.
Want to learn more about how to keep your dog healthy so they can avoid the risk of sickness or injury? Browse the TPLOInfo blog today.