Treating a Dog For Dehydration

As with all animals, dehydration can be a serious risk for dogs. Minerals called electrolytes are also lost when the dog becomes dehydrated. Dehydration is a very serious health risk when it occurs in any animal, dogs included. Since dogs are unable to sweat they release excess heat by panting. Extensive panting, especially hard panting, can lead to dehydration.

One of the best ways to avoid dehydration is to always have sufficient shelter and fresh, clean water available for the dog. These basic steps help ward off heat stroke, a problem closely related to dog dehydration. Of course, other causes such as severe diarrhea, vomiting, and fevers can also cause dehydration

Heavy panting is generally the first sign that a dog might be becoming dehydrated. Other thing to check is the elasticity of the pet’s skin and the condition of the dog’s gums. By gently pinching up a fold of skin on either the dog’s neck or head you can gauge how dehydrated the pet is. A healthy dog’s skin will quickly regain it’s former shape, while dehydrated skin doesn’t have the proper amount of fluid and will more slowly reform. The dog’s gums should be moist and slick. If a dog is dehydrated the gums will be sticky and dry.

If the pet is showing signs of dehydration the first thing to do is to check the level of dehydration. More serious dehydration shouldn’t be handled by an amateur, so if the situation appears serious seek out a veterinarian immediately. Veterinarians can provide more advanced solutions like IV fluids which amateurs don’t have on hand. In serious cases the situation can be even worse than normal dehydration because drinking enough to correct the issue can be problematic – dogs drinking too much water will frequently vomit, making the situation even worse.

It is important to re-hydrate the dog slowly. Rather than using plain water, give the dog an electrolyte supplement. Avoid sport drinks since they have more sugar than a dog can handle properly, instead using a canine equivalent such as pedialyte. Give the dog small amounts of the fluid at very frequent intervals. If the dog is unable to drink on its own, use a medicine syringe and place the fluids in its mouth.

Taylor Martinerin writes on a variety of dog related topics, including how to select an outdoor dog bed or a waterproof dog bed.