Signs of dehydration in dogs are important to know, especially in the hot months of summer.
While any good dog owner knows to have fresh water for their dogs available at all times no matter where they are, dehydration can come on fast in some breeds, especially in hot conditions.
These signs are also important to know in cases where dogs are having prolonged diarrhea or vomiting, as these conditions can also lead to dehydration.
Knowing the signs can help owners take better care of their pooches on hot days and sick days.
Let’s check them out!
Related: 8 Warning Signs That a Dog is Dying
Signs of Dehydration in Dogs
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Ever notice how exhibitors at dog shows carry fans, spray bottles and cooling coats ringside on hot days? The dogs’ comfort are the priority. Anyone can have these items handy for their dogs in the Summer. #totallypreventable #dogsafety #dogdehydration #doghealth #dogcare
Unlike people, dogs often won’t stop to drink or eat when they’re having a ton of fun outside romping about.
They also might not be interested in water if they are vomiting.
In severe cases of diarrhea in a dog, even drinking water may not be enough to keep them hydrated.
Since our dogs can’t tell us they’re thirsty or dehydrated, we need to know the signs.
Let’s take a look at them.
- Inappetence (Loss of Appetite)
- Lethargy (Lack of Energy)
- Excessive Panting
- Sunken Eyes that Appear Dry
- Dry Nose and Gums
- Loss of Skin Elasticity
Most of these are easy to spot, however, skin elasticity takes a little test. Don’t worry, it’s incredibly easy to do.
- To test the skin for elasticity, simply pinch the skin gently between your thumb and forefinger.
- The skin of a well-hydrated dog will quickly return to its original position.
- However, in dehydrated dogs, the skin will take much longer to fall back into place.
- In extremely severe cases, it may not go back at all.
Check out this video if you need a more visual explanation of how to check skin elasticity:
Top 3 Causes of Dehydration in Dogs
The most common causes of dehydration in dogs are excessive heat, diarrhea, vomiting, and breed-related issues.
On very hot days, dogs may become dehydrated if they are playing and forget to drink.
The combination of all the activity of play and the hot conditions coupled with forgetting to drink can quickly cause a dog to become dehydrated.
Not sure how hot is too hot? This 5-second trick from ABC News will help you figure it out!
Basically, you put your hand on the pavement. If you can’t keep it there longer than 5 seconds, it’s too hot to walk your dog.
Related: 5 Must-Know Summer Safety Tips for Dogs
2. Diarrhea and Vomiting can both cause dehydration.
Both of these conditions cause a massive loss of water in the dog’s body and can quickly lead to a sometimes dangerous level of dehydration.
If your dog throws up once and seems fine otherwise, it’s usually not cause to worry.
However, if your pooch exhibits any of the following, get him to the vet asap:
- There is blood in the vomit, or it looks like coffee grounds.
- Your dog has no appetite and seems lethargic.
- The vomiting or diarrhea lasts longer than 24 hours.
- Your dog has chronic vomiting and diarrhea, meaning it happens off and on for longer than a week.
- You have a senior dog, or a pup in poor health.
If your dog looks like he’s dry heaving or trying to vomit, but nothing is coming up AND he is restless or agitated, get him to the vet NOW. These are signs of bloat, which can be deadly.
3. Breed-Related Issues
Dogs with heavy coats like Huskies and small dogs like Maltese, Shih-Tzus, and Chihuahuas can become dehydrated very quickly on hot days.
Dogs with heavy coats retain heat, so on a hot day, they can quickly become dehydrated if they go too long without water.
Imagine how you would feel if you were walking around with a fur coat on in 90-degree weather!
Small-breed dogs also quickly become dehydrated without adequate water due to their size.
Think about it: their very tiny bodies have very tiny organs that can only hold so much water!
Know the Signs of Dehydration in Dogs and Treat Them Immediately
Knowing the signs of dehydration in dogs is key to being able to address the problem as quickly as possible.
If you’re out and about on a very hot day, ensure that your dog has access to water at all times and keep an eye out for the signs of dehydration.
If your dog is sick, take him to the vet immediately to prevent dehydration due to illness.
In most cases, all you need is water on hand to prevent dehydration.
However, if your dog is sick and becomes severely dehydrated, your vet might recommend IV fluids to rehydrate him.
In all cases, when you know the signs of dehydration in dogs you can treat them and even prevent dehydration from happening at all.
So remember, keep the water handy, and get your pooch to the vet if he’s sick.
That’s usually all you need to do to keep them hydrated.
Have you ever dealt with dehydration in dogs? Share your experiences below so we can learn from each other.