Dog Dehydration: How To Keep Your Dog Properly Hydrated

Hello to all the dog lovers out there! Has your dog been displaying symptoms of dehydration? Or are you unsure what dehydration looks like in a dog?

Regardless of why you are here, we will be showing you everything you need to know about dehydration in dogs. From what some of the most common causes are to how you can treat it. We have you covered. 

Dog Dehydration How to Keep Your Dog Properly Hydrated

So, without further ado, let us get started.

How Can Your Dog Get Dehydrated? 

Dehydration happens when there is not enough fluid to replenish the various parts of the body. A dog will lose water when they sweat, defecate and urinate and if that water is not replenished it can cause some life-threatening side effects.

Including restricted blood flow and a reduction in the quantity of oxygen that reaches their vital organs and other tissue. 

Reasons for Dehydration in Dogs

There are many reasons why a dog might get dehydrated. Below are several of the most common reasons for dehydration in dogs. 

  • Pain – If your dog is in pain they might not want to drink even if they need to.
  • Nausea – If your dog is nauseous they may not be inclined to drink water. 
  • Diarrhea – This affliction can cause water loss and your dog may not feel well enough to drink water and replenish what they are losing.
  • Vomiting – Excessive vomiting can mean that the dog is losing more water than they are replenishing when they drink. 
  • Panting – Panting can be a sign that your dog is too hot and needs more water to drink. If they are not getting enough water it can lead to dehydration especially if it is too warm. 
  • Frequent Urination – Frequent urination can also mean that your dog is not replenishing the water they are losing. But if your dog urinates too much it can also mean that they are suffering from diabetes or kidney failure. 
  • Fatigue – Fatigue can lead to your dog not having the energy to drink water which in the long run can result in dehydration,
  • Heatstroke – It is important to seek medical help if your dog is suffering from heatstroke. They may not be able to replenish what they are losing fast enough. 
  • Fever – If your dog has a fever they may feel too unwell to drink and because of excessive sweating they may not be able to replenish what they are losing. 

Symptoms of Dehydration in Dogs

Now that we know a bit about what can cause dehydration in your furry friend we need to look further into what signs you might encounter if your dog is suffering from dehydration. So, let’s take a look:

  • Your dog looks fatigued
  • Loss of appetite
  • You notice thick saliva 
  • Your dog does have a lot of energy
  • Their gums are dry or moist
  • You notice that your dog has a dry nose
  • Your dog pants more than usual
  • Your dog is excessively vomiting
  • Their eyes look hollow or dry
  • Your dog has diarrhea
  • The skin is less elastic than normal

Is My Dog Dehydrated? 

While you have a variety of tell-tale symptoms of dehydration in dogs, it can be hard to tell sometimes if your pet actually is dehydrated or not. 

For example, a simple test you can do to see whether your dog is getting enough water is to see if their skin is elastic. You can do this by simply pinching some skin near the shoulder blades, lifting that skin up, and then releasing it.

If your dog is not dehydrated the skin should quickly fall back into place. But, if the skin takes longer to get back to normal it could mean that your canine companion is dehydrated. 

Another test you could do is examine your dog’s gums. All you need to do is lightly press down on your dog’s gum with your finger and release.

If the gum turns white then quickly turns back to pink again your dog is probably getting more than enough water and is healthy. If the gum takes long to turn back to the normal shade of pink it could be a sign that the dog is not hydrated. 

Just make sure to keep an eye out for any of the symptoms we have identified for you thus far and if you are really worried about whether your dog is properly hydrated or not you can carry out these simple tests. 

When Will Dehydration Set in?

A dog can live for maybe three days without drinking water, but after 24 hours you should start to see signs of your dog’s dehydration. As time goes on your pet will slowly get weaker and weaker

How to Treat Dehydration in Dogs

If you are hell-bent on treating dehydration at home you will need to know how to care for your canine companion in order to make sure that they recover as quickly as possible. 

Below are a few things you might want to consider doing for your dog if you notice that they are dehydrated:

  • Contact the Vet – If your dog is displaying signs of dehydration to the point that there is nothing you can do to help them. If they refuse your attempts to goad them into drinking you should without a doubt call your vet. Get their advice and see what you can do from there. 
  • Keep an Eye on Your Dog – Before you go getting overly worried, make sure to watch your pet. They may decide to drink water on their own. So, before you call your vet make sure that you have been keeping an eye on our dog. You might even consider offering them a drink. 
  • Get Them Out of the Heat – If your dog is too hot it can exasperate their condition. So, the first thing you should do is get your beloved pet to a place that is cooler. Take them indoors, where it is nice and cool. Getting your pet out of the heat will help them not get more thirsty than they already are and might encourage them to drink more. 
  • Allow Them to Rest – One thing you could do for your pet is let them rest in a cool place. Offer them water and let them take a nap while you keep busy. 

Encourage Your Dog to Drink – If you notice that your dog is dehydrated you should try to get them to drink. Water or an electrolyte drink will be essential to help them recover.

If you can get your dog to drink as little as 1/4th of a cup for a large dog or 1/8th of a cup for a small dog every hour you will notice that your canine companion will start to show signs of recovery.

This will only work if your dog is mildly dehydrated. If they are severely dehydrated you should contact your vet immediately to ensure that your dog gets the treatment that they need. 

How Quick is Recovery? 

Dog Dehydration How to Keep Your Dog Properly Hydrated

If your dog has severe dehydration it might take a while to recover. Your dog may feel lethargic for a while. But the two main things that will determine the speed of recovery are: 

  • How dehydrated your pet was
  • What caused your pet to get dehydrated

For example, if your dogs’ case of dehydration has caused their internal organs to weaken you will probably find that your canine companion will need a little longer to get back to their old self. 

Keeping Your Dog Hydrated

So, how do you avoid your dog getting dehydrated? There are actually a lot of ways you can make sure that they get enough to drink. So, let’s take a look at what you can do to assure that your dog does not have to experience dehydration and take a trip to the vet. 

  • Have a selection of water bowls throughout the house – One good way to avoid your dog getting too thirsty is to make sure that there are various sources of water throughout the house. 
  • Wet food – Wet food has a lot of moisture in it which makes it a great way to make sure that your dog is getting enough water. As a side note, wet food alone is not enough. You will need to make sure that your dog always has water available as well as wet food to tide them over.
  • Bowl size – Depending on the size of your dog, you will need a bowl that gives them enough water to drink. It is as simple as knowing that a larger dog will need a larger bowl and a smaller dog will need a smaller bowl.
  • Refill their water – You should refill your dogs’ water bowl every day. You can try doing it at the same time every day and monitoring how much your dog drinks throughout the day. 
  • Don’t chain up your dog – If your dog is always chained up it can cause them to get tangled up in the chain or leash which can mean that they are unable to get to their water. 
  • Pack water – If you are going for a walk on a particularly warm day or go on a long drive it might be a good idea to pack water, so your canine companion always has fresh water to help them stay cool and hydrated. 
  • Icy treats – An icy cube or frozen treat you have prepared might be a good way to help your dog stay cool and hydrated on particularly hot days. There are many frozen treats you can try out for your dog. So, go and look up some frozen treat ideas and make your dog a delectable treat to help keep them cool. 

Keep the toilet seat down – If your dog is a renowned toilet water drinker it is a good idea to keep that lid down, so they do not get sick from drinking dirty water. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Okay, let us look at a few of the most commonly asked questions surrounding dehydrated dogs and what you can do to help your canine companions:

How Much Water Does it Take to Rehydrate a Dog?

It depends on the severity of the dehydration. The more severe the dehydration the longer it takes to re-hydrate. This is because the body needs to replace all the fluids lost during the process of dehydration. 

The amount of water needed to rehydrate varies depending on the severity of the condition. Mild cases may only require 1/2 cup per 10 pounds of weight. More severe cases may require 2 cups per 10 pounds of weight or even 3 cups per 10 pounds of body weight. 

How Do You Make Electrolytes for Dogs?

You can of course purchase electrolytes online if you are not confident in your ability to make your own. For those of you that are interested in making an electrolyte for your dog all you need is salt, water, and honey. There are plenty of recipes online you can follow to easily make electrolytes for dogs at home. 

Can You Give Water to Your Dog with a Syringe?

Yes, but this is not recommended. Giving your dog too much water could lead to kidney damage. A better option would be to give your dog a small amount of water mixed with a bit of honey. 

How Do You Get Your Dog to Drink Water? 

If your dog is having trouble drinking water there are several things you can try. Some of these include:

  • Offer your dog a tasty treat such as ice cream or chicken broth.
  • Use a syringe to offer your dog a small amount (about half a teaspoon) of water.
  • Put your dog’s favorite toy in their water bowl and watch them play with it and hopefully, this will encourage them to drink. 
  • Place a bucket under your dog’s nose and encourage him to drink by blowing bubbles into his face.

Final Thoughts

It can be scary when your dog starts to become sick, and it is even worse when you realize that your dog has not gotten enough to drink. Don’t feel bad.

Even if you are super attentive and your dog always has water around the house they might still refuse to drink because of an underlying condition you are unaware of. So, simply keep an eye on your canine companion so that if they do become dehydrated you can act quickly. 

Megan Turner
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