Dogs and Dehydration: What You Need to Know

Dogs and Dehydration: What You Need to Know

63832025 - dog drinking water from bowlWater is essential to life, not just for you but for your dog as well. Just like severely dehydrated children and adults can end up in the hospital, a dehydrated dog will experience a number of dangerous and unpleasant symptoms. Here is what you need to know to avoid doggy dehydration and ensure that your pup always has plenty to drink.

Why Does Dehydration Affect Dogs?

Dehydration, defined as a lack of water in the body, will cause serious medical complications for dogs because they depend on proper fluid intake to maintain strong health. Water actually makes up 80% of your dog’s body , so when he doesn’t drink enough water, he suffers an abnormal reduction in the volume of circulating blood. Without enough blood circulating through his body, your dog will experience a number of symptoms caused by electrolyte imbalance. Such imbalance threatens his digestion, waste removal, and other biological processes.

Symptoms of Dehydration

It’s relatively easy to identify dehydration in your dog. He will have sunken eyes and display unusual lethargy, loss of appetite, dry mouth, and even depression. Other signs include vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive drooling, and loose, wrinkled skin.

Dogs at High Risk of Dehydration

All dogs are more likely to become dehydrated during the summer since the hot weather triggers excessive sweating, but small dogs are naturally at an increased risk of becoming dehydrated since they have a higher body surface area-to-volume ratio. Elderly and pregnant or nursing dogs also need to be watched carefully and monitored for signs of dehydration.

Dehydration Prevention

Keeping your dog hydrated isn’t too complicated. The most important step is to provide clean water at all times and change the water frequently to avoid the growth of bacteria. The rule of thumb is that each day your dog needs one ounce of water for each pound of bodyweight, so a 50 pound dog should drink 50 ounces of water.

Adopting these steps should keep your dog safe and consistently hydrated, but if you suspect your dog has already become dehydrated and is suffering serious symptoms, call a vet and prepare for the administration of intravenous or subcutaneous fluids.

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