Dehydration can be dangerous for your dog!

By Karen A. Soukiasian

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 serious problem. 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 over heated 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, cool 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…a bottle for you, and a bottle for your pal.

Signs to watch for of dehydration:
1. Fever in severe cases
2. Lethargic
3. Disoriented
4. Lack of appetite
5. Diarrhea
6. Vomiting
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 turns pink in 2 seconds, he or she is not in serious 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 to rehydrate your pet with IV fluids.

For moderate rehydration, as long as your dog is not vomiting, you can try:
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 Perdialyte, 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/or bring them inside for the air conditioning. Simply cooling them off may stimulate them to drink.

Do not let your dog over drink. 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 them to your veterinarian immediately!

Bottom Line: Management is key for keeping your dog properly hydrated. Make sure there are plenty of water bowls, they are accessible, and full of clean, cool water. Take the time, to watch to make sure they are drinking enough. Don’t rush them!

NOTE: There are dog owners who feel because the dog is poolside, they will drink out of the pool. Therefore, they don’t need a water bowl out there. This way of thinking doesn’t always work…and it could be tragic.
1. Some dogs will not drink 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, simply because they were thirsty!