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How to Keep Your Dog Hydrated

How to Keep Your Dog Hydrated

Just like us, your dog’s body naturally loses water all day. Your dog loses water when he or she sweats, pees, poops, and pants. It’s important to keep your dog hydrated. A loss of just 10% to 15% of the water in his body can result in organ damage or even death.

a wet dog

What causes dehydration in dogs?

Dehydration is the result of not drinking enough water. Similar to their human counter-part, dogs are at risk of dehydration when their water consumption doesn’t match their activity level. You should be especially aware of your dog’s water intake during warmer months. Panting can lead to dehydration.

There are other times your dog may be at risk because he refuses to drink. This can be a sign of heat stroke, a fever, nausea, or are in pain.

Dogs suffering from kidney failure, diabetes, and other internal problems are all in danger of dehydration. These conditions cause them to pass urine more often. Although your dog will drink more when experiencing kidney failure, it won’t be enough to compensate for the amount they lose from urination. It’s vital that you seek veterinary attention if your dog shows any changes in their urination or drinking habits.

Dogs can also dehydrate if they lose a lot of fluid through vomiting and diarrhea.

How to prevent diarrhea in your dog

As WedMD explains there are many causes that lead to diarrhea in your dog. It could be the result of infections from bacteria, viruses, and worms. “A disease called parvovirus triggers severe vomiting and diarrhea. And because your dog will lose more water with diarrhea, diarrhea can lead to dehydration.”

To help prevent these illnesses, WebMD recommends three steps:

  • Have your dog vaccinated regularly.
  • Keep him away from old food and garbage.
  • Talk to your vet about treatments to ward off parasite infections.

a dog drinking from a water fountain

How much water is enough for a dog?

A simple way to keep your dog hydrated it to make sure he gets at least 1 ounce of water daily for each pound he weighs. That means a 20-pound dog needs at least 20 ounces of water every day.

Signs of dehydration in your dog

Dog dehydration symptoms include the following:

  1. Sunken eyes
  2. Dry gums
  3. Lethargy
  4. Weakness
  5. Collapse
  6. Loss of skin elasticity

We love our dogs and want to stay on top of their health. WebMD provides a couple of quick, easy ways to check your dog for dehydration:

First, lift the skin on the back between his shoulders – It should sink back to its normal place right away.

Second, gently press on your dog's gums until the pressure creates a light spot. The normal color should come back right away when you remove your finger. Also the gums should feel slick and moist.

If your dog seems lethargic and doesn’t respond normally, it could be a sign of dehydration. Should your dog not pass these simple tests and you think he might be dehydrated, take him to the vet right away.

How is dehydration in dogs treated?

Once you’ve taken your dog to the vet and dehydration is suspected, they will carry out an examination of your dog. The purpose of the exam is to decide how severe the dehydration is. Depending upon how severe the vet thinks the case is, he or she will likely collect blood samples and possibly perform an x-ray and an ultrasound.

The blood sample will help them quickly identify the cause and determine what treatment is needed.

“The blood is usually taken from a vein located in one of your pet’s front legs or a large vein in their neck called the jugular vein,” explains Laura Playforth of Vets Now. “A small patch of fur is often clipped to help the vet find the vein. If the sample is taken from a leg, a small bandage will usually be applied to stop any further bleeding. This bandage can usually be removed within a couple of hours.”

a panting dog

How do vets rehydrate dogs?

There are three different methods of rehydration. The most common way the vet will rehydrate your dog is by placing him on a drip if he’s diagnosed with dehydration.

Alternatively, the vet may rehydrate your dog by “administering fluid under their skin to form a ‘camel shaped’ hump.” The fluid is absorbed over a few hours. This method is only used for mild cases since it’s less effective than a drip.

If your dog is willing, able, and wanting to drink, oral rehydration can be used. Your vet will determine what solution is best.

How long can dogs go without water?

In general, animals can’t go more than a few days without water. This depends on the size and breed of your dog. It also depends on whether your dog has health issues such as kidney disease. As a general rule of thumb, your dog should drink at least 1 ounce of water daily for each pound he weighs.

how to keep a dog hydrated

How do I hydrate my dog?

There are six simple ways to help prevent your dog from becoming dehydrated:

  1. Ensure your dog has plenty of access to fresh, clean water
  2. Check the bowl every few hours
  3. Clean your dog’s water bowl daily to prevent bacteria
  4. Take bottles of water with you on a walk or when traveling – The Elemental Water Bottle is the perfect way to ensure you always have cool, fresh water for your dog (grab one for you and for your dog)
  5. Avoid exercising your dog in hot weather
  6. Never leave your dog in a car

Summary

Hydration is important for people and dogs. A lack of water can lead to serious health problems for your dog. Be aware of the six signs of dehydration and follow these six steps to keep your dog hydrated.

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