Dehydration on Dogs
By Amber Drake
Dehydration can become a very serious problem quickly. What is dehydration, though? Dehydration occurs when your dog’s total body water is less than normal. Not only does your dog’s body lack water when she is dehydrated, but she also often lacks sodium, chloride and potassium. Dogs lose water daily through normal activities including panting, breathing and eliminating waste. They replenish their bodily water content when they eat and drink.
Beginning signs of dehydration include the following:
• Appearing exhausted
• Panting excessively
• Sunken eyes
• Dry nose
Over time, your dog’s skin will lose elasticity. In order to test the elasticity of her skin, pinch the skin between your thumb and forefinger. If it returns to normal immediately, your dog is not dehydrated. If the skin moves back slowly, your dog may be somewhat dehydrated. If the skin does not return to normal at all, your dog severely dehydrated. Over time, your dog will become weak or unable to move his rear end completely. She may also be unsteady and appear wobbly if severely dehydrated.
In order to prevent dehydration, you should leave two to three bowls of water around the house. Water should be given freely throughout every day. If your dog has not had a drink in quite a while, you should allow your dog to take small sips every couple of minutes to avoid stomach cramps, vomiting or bloat. On hot days, you can provide your dog with ice cubes. Ice cubes will not only replenish your dog’s body but will also decrease boredom and anxiety. If your dog completely refuses to drink, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian may want to give her IV fluids to bring her back to hydration.