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What Are the Signs of Dehydration in Dogs?

What Are the Signs of Dehydration in Dogs?

What Are the Signs of Dehydration in Dogs?

Like humans, dehydration has serious consequences for dogs and can even be fatal. While our furry friends are naturally equipped with the ability to regulate their body temperature and keep themselves hydrated, some scenarios will cause them to dehydrate quickly.

With summer upon us, it makes sense to be extra vigilant about keeping an eye out for the signs of dehydration in dogs. Unfortunately, these signs are easy to miss since they manifest themselves gradually. Your job is to know what to look for to get your pup the help they need before it’s too late.

Why Do Dogs Get Dehydrated?

Some reasons come naturally, while others are caused by negligence and a lack of awareness.
Some breeds, i.e., Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers, have short snouts, making it naturally difficult for them to pant effectively. This “congenital disability” makes these breeds more susceptible to heatstroke and dehydration since they’d overheat pretty quickly, especially in hot weather or after exercise.

Older dogs and puppies are also at risk since they don’t have fully developed regulatory systems. They’re also more likely to get diarrhea, a common precursor to dehydration since it causes severe fluid loss.

Certain medications will have dehydration as a side effect, most notably diuretics, used to treat heart and kidney conditions. If your dog is on any of these medications, talk to your vet about the possibility of dehydration and what you ought to do to prevent it.

Heatstroke in dogs is more common than you realize. When your four-legged friend does excessive drooling or panting, it could be because their body temperature is way too high, and they’re trying to cool down. If you notice this and don’t do anything about it, he could develop heatstroke, leading to dehydration.

Signs of Dehydration

1 – Dry Nose

One of the first places dehydration will show itself is in your dog’s nose. A healthy, hydrated dog has a wet or slightly damp nose. If it’s dry, that’s a cause for concern, and you should take him to the vet immediately.

2 – Sunken Eyes

If your pup’s eyes look sunken in, that’s another sign they’re not getting enough fluids. It’s quite noticeable if you gently pull down on the lower eyelid. If the area under there appears to be sunken, then you should call your vet.

3 -Decreased Appetite

Some dogs manifest it, while others don’t, yet a decrease in appetite is indicative of a mild case of dehydration. If your dog is dispassionate in food or water, err on the side of caution and take them to the vet to get checked out.

4 – Excessive Thirst

This is a no-brainer, but it’s still worth mentioning. When dogs drink more water than usual or seem unusually thirsty, that’s a sign they’re not getting enough liquid and are dehydrated.

Excessive thirst may also indicate a host of other conditions in canines, i.e., diabetes, fever, infection, and liver disease. If your buddy thirsts for water quite frequently, don’t waste any more time and take them to the vet for a comprehensive checkup.

5 – Lethargy

Dehydration will sap your pup’s energy, making them lazy and unwilling to move around. If you notice your dog moves slower than usual or wants to sleep all day, that’s another sign they need more fluids.

The good news is that dogs instinctively look for water, even with the slightest hint of thirst. The bad news is that it’s usually too late by the time they’re lethargic, and they need immediate medical attention.

6 – Vomiting or Diarrhea

As mentioned earlier, these two conditions are a leading cause of dehydration since they expel a lot of bodily fluid. If your canine buddy has either of these, monitor them closely and give them lots of fluids. If the vomiting or diarrhea persists, a visit to the vet is in order. Not many dog companions realize that it’s not the pain from diarrhea that’s dangerous; it’s the dehydration that comes with it.

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7 – Dry Mouth and Gums

When dogs are properly hydrated, their gums are pink and moist. If they’re dry and tacky, that’s a tell-tale sign of dehydration. Another way to check is to lift their lip and gently press on their gums with your finger. If the indentation takes longer than a second or two to go away, they’re most likely dehydrated. In contrast, sticky saliva is often a sign of dehydration as well.

At-Home Treatment for Dehydration

If you think your dog is mildly dehydrated, you can do some things at home to help rehydrate them. However, it’s always best to seek the medical professional opinion of a vet if you think your dog if you think they are dehydrated.

1 – Give Them Small Sips of Water

If your dog is vomiting, don’t give them large amounts of water all at once, as it will only worsen the vomiting. Instead, stick to small sips of ice chips and let them drink as much as they want. It’ll take a lot of patience, but eventually, they’ll drink enough to rehydrate.

2 – Feed Them Small Meals

If your pup suffers from diarrhea, give them smaller meals more frequently throughout the day rather than one large meal. It’ll help their stomach digest the food better and won’t make diarrhea worse.

3 – Home Remedies

We’re talking about hydration solutions, i.e., Pedialyte, that help replenish electrolytes, allowing dogs to recover quickly. You can give this to your dog by mixing it with their food or water. Ask your vet if you’re unsure how much to give them.

When To Seek Help

Severe dehydration is the worst-case scenario and can result in death if not treated immediately. Some signs include listlessness, sunken eyes, dry mouth, and high body temperature. If your furry buddy displays any of these symptoms, take them to the vet immediately.

Severe dehydration is an emergency, so you can’t wait much longer before taking them to the vet. The best thing you can do is be proactive and take them in as soon as you notice any of the signs listed above.

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