Published: October 18, 2018

    Dehydration in Dogs: How to Identify and Treat

    Whenever your body sends the signals to your brain that you’re thirsty you can simply get up, walk to the tap, and pour a refreshing glass of filtered water whenever you like. For our furry friends, however, hydration isn’t so easy. It’s up to us to care for our dogs and provide adequate nourishment and hydration throughout the day.

    Dehydration in dogs doesn’t occur often, but the combination of being outside, high temperatures, or forgetfulness on the owner’s part can leave Fido in a vulnerable position. Water comprises 80% of a dog’s body, and is required for all basic biological processes like digestion and blood circulation. Other than looking at the water bowl longingly or barking, what are the telltale signs of dehydration?

    Signs of Dehydration in Dogs

    Dehydration can occur after a romp in the sun, or can be caused by problems like diarrhea and vomiting. If you suspect your dog hasn’t had enough water here’s how to check for dehydration in dogs:

    • Check for tears at the corner of their eyes and a wet nose. If your dog has a dry nose and has no tears present around their eyes they could be seriously low on water.
    • Gently lift the skin on the back of your dog’s neck between its shoulders, then release. If your dog is properly hydrated the skin should pop right back into place. Dehydrated skin, however, may remain elevated for a few seconds before pulling taut again.
    • Check your dog’s mucus membrane. NOTE: always wash your hands before and after this check, and ensure your dog is calm enough to have this performed before trying it. In order to check your dog’s mucus membrane gently lift their lifts and slide your finger in between their lip and their gums. If they are hydrated your finger should glide along the gums without sticking.

    Treatment of Dehydration in Dogs

    Dogs that are given adequate water and still suffer dehydration often are suffering from serious medical issues like kidney problems, diabetes, or cancer. If your dog is dehydrated the best course of action is to take them to the vet right away. A veterinarian can administer needed fluids and run tests on your dog to determine if there is an underlying cause for the dehydration.

    Prevention of Dehydration in Dogs

    In general your dog should drink at least one ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. If you are concerned about your dog’s water consumption and the possibility of dehydration monitor their water intake and compare it to their weight. Of course, being outside on a hot day and exercising will increase a dog’s need of water, so keep your dog’s water bowl filled, especially after going for a walk or being outside for an extended period of time.

    Pet owners often go to great lengths to ensure their pup is eating the best food — serve your dog the cleanest, safest water as well by outfitting your house with a system that generates refreshing filtered water from every tap in your home.