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Nutrition & health resources

Treating Dehydration

Treating Dehydration

Dehydration, the process of excessive water loss from the body, is a serious condition in any dog—and, depending on the severity—can be a matter of life and death. Like humans, dogs need adequate fluids to help transport nutrients through their body, to keep the body cool, and to replace water lost to humidity. Since dehydration can be so bad for your dog, it's important to understand the essentials of this condition.

Symptoms to look for:

The hotter and more humid the weather, the more important it is to look for these symptoms. Digestive issues that cause vomiting and diarrhoea can lead to dehydration from fluid loss.

External symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Dry mouth, nose, or gums
  • Sunken eyes
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Collapse

Behavioural symptoms include:

  • Appetite loss
  • Depression

Testing for dehydration

Here's a simple test to see if your dog needs more fluids: Simply pinch a little of your dog's skin between their shoulder blades with your thumb and fingertips. When you release it, the skin should quickly fall back into place. If the skin falls back slowly, your dog may be dehydrated.

Tips to keep your dog hydrated and cool

If you believe your dog has symptoms of dehydration, you can do a number of things to help re-hydrate them and keep them cool. 

  • Move them out of the sun and into a cooler environment.
  • Provide them with fresh, clean water. Make sure your dog doesn't drink the water too fast because it may cause vomiting, which will result in additional water loss.
  • Take them to the veterinarian. Your vet will perform necessary medical checks and provide required treatment to help your dog recover as quickly as possible.
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