In the tropical and subtropical regions, dog dehydration is a common problem. It results from not consuming enough water and electrolytes or losing too much fluid.
Some cases of dehydration can be serious and require immediate veterinary attention. If left untreated, dehydration can cause serious organ damage or even death.
Here are a few signs your dog is dehydrated and how to treat the condition.
How to see if your Dog is Dehydrated?
To identify dog dehydration, use your forefinger and thumb and pinch a little skin on the top of the head or back. If they are well-hydrated, their skin will spring back when you release it. If the skin lacks moisture, it will move back to its place slowly. In severe dehydration, the skin may not spring back at all.
The reduction in the elasticity of your pet’s skin is known as a skin tent. It is one of the signs your dog is dehydrated. Dogs that are obese might have a mild skin tent. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are dehydrated.
Another way to identify the signs your dog is dehydrated is to check his gums for capillary refill time. Lift your dog’s lips and check the color of his gums. Then, press the gum with your index finger, so it appears white.
Remove the finger to release the pressure to find out how quickly the color returns to normal, or how fast the capillaries in the gums refill. If your dog is healthy, his gums will refill immediately. If he’s dehydrated, the gums could take up to three seconds to refill.
Some other Signs of Dog Dehydration are:
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting with or without diarrhea
- Sunken eyes
- Dry nose
- Dry and sticky gums
- Thick saliva
- Reduced energy levels
Your vet might also take a blood sample of your dog to test for dehydration. A blood sample is a quick, easy, and accurate way to determine the severity of the signs your dog is dehydrated and what treatment is required. The blood is usually taken from the jugular vein (a large vein in the neck) or the vein in one of your dog’s front legs.
The vet may clip a patch of fur to find the vein. If he takes the sample from a leg, he’ll apply a small mandate to stop any further bleeding.
What Causes Dehydration?
All Indian dogs are at risk of dehydration, especially if they refuse to eat or drink. Here are a few reasons your dog can suffer from diarrhea.
- An underlying illness, like fever or heat stroke
- Lethargy and nausea
- Loss of fluid through panting, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Frequent passage of urine in larger volumes than normal (signs of kidney failure, diabetes, etc.)
How to Treat Dog Dehydration?
If you see any signs of dehydration, take him to your vet immediately. If not treated, dog dehydration can cause life-threatening complications.
If your dog suspects your dog is dehydrated, he’ll carry out a full head-to-toe examination to identify the underlying cause. The vet might also recommend some tests, such as x-rays, ultrasound scans, and blood samples.
How to Rehydrate Dogs?
Your vet will most likely put your pet on a drip. This won’t take much time and will replace any fluids already lost. It will also prevent further dehydration.
Another method to rehydrate Indian dogs is to administer fluid under their skin to form a camel-shaped hump. The fluid is then absorbed over a few hours. This method is less effective than a drip and is suitable for mild cases only.
Your vet can also recommend oral solutions; however, they work only if your dog is still willing to drink.
If your dog’s dehydration symptoms are severe, your vet may also recommend antibiotics, anti-sickness meds, and pain relief medications.
If dog dehydration is not severe, you can rehydrate the dog yourself. Severely dehydrated dogs require immediate medical attention. If your dog shows signs of heatstroke or shock, get in touch with your vet immediately.
But if your dog is mildly dehydrated, you can rehydrate him without the help of a vet. Make your dog drink small amounts of water every few minutes. If required, mix the water with electrolyte replacement water.
You can also freeze the electrolyte water and offer him pieces of ice to lick. However, avoid giving him too much water too quickly, as it can cause him to vomit and further deteriorate the condition of your dog.
How to Prevent Dehydration in Dogs?
The key to preventing dog dehydration is to offer your dog plenty of fluids. Place several bowls of water around the house so your dog can drink no matter where he is or what he is doing.
If you’re taking your dog out for a walk or ride, bring a bottle of water and a portable bowl with you. A rule of thumb is that if you’re playing outside and you feel thirsty, your dog is probably thirsty, too.
After an intense session of playing or exercise, give your pooch water in small amounts. Pour a little water in his bowl every few minutes. And no matter how thirsty he looks, don’t be tempted and let him drink too much too quickly.
If you’re not at home during the day, automatic water bowls and pet fountains can do wonders in ensuring your stays hydrated throughout the day. Also, give your dog a cup of fresh, clean water with every meal.
If your dog refuses to drink water for a long period of time, get in touch with your veterinarian. Similar to humans, dogs need to maintain their fluid levels for the proper functioning of the body.
Dog dehydration can be fatal. If you live in a region with hot weather, it’s advised to give your dog access to fresh, clean water throughout the day.
As a rule of thumb, a dog should drink 50-60 ml of water per kg of body weight each day. If your dog isn’t eating or drinking, take him to your vet.