How to identify the symptoms of dehydration in dogs

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With warm summer weather starting up it’s important to keep pets well hydrated.

With warm summer weather starting up it’s important to keep pets well hydrated.

Water is essential for mammals’ bodies to operate at peak capacity. The American Kennel Club says water is necessary to lubricate joints, facilitate digestion, regulate body temperature and cushion internal organs, among many other functions. Similar to humans, pets that fail to consume enough water can face dire consequences.

Dehydration is a medical term for when the body has lost more fluid than it has taken in. Dehydration can occur at any time, but it is even more common during the warm weather months.

Dogs quickly can become very sick from dehydration. That is why every pet owner should learn how to recognize the symptoms of dehydration in their dogs.

The Veterinary Emergency Group says symptoms of mild dehydration can include:

• Dry nose, although this also can be a signal of other problems, like fever.

• Excessive drooling occurs as dogs try to cool down their bodies.

• A dehydrated dog can exhibit signs of fatigue, including a reluctance to move around much.



• Sticky gums.

As the dog becomes more dehydrated, the following symptoms can develop:

• Loss of elasticity of the skin.

• Loss of appetite.

• Thickening of the dog’s saliva.

• Gums may go from sticky to dry.

• Excessive panting may begin.

Vomiting or diarrhea also may occur.

• Dehydration causes the body to redistribute fluid lost, and fluid may be pulled from the eyes, causing the eyes to appear sunken.

If a dog appears to be dehydrated, you can start offering small amounts of water to slowly rehydrate the animal, says Northeast

Veterinary Referral Hospital. It’s important to call the veterinarian and get further advice regarding how to address dehydration.

Some vets may suggest offering an electrolyte-enhanced fluid like Pedialyte so electrolyte loss does not affect organs. The vet may want you to come into the office so the dog can receive intravenous fluids, says the American Kennel Club.

The best way to treat dehydration is to prevent it in the first place. Provide dogs with a constant supply of clean, clear water at all times. The amount of water needs to increase if the dog is spending time outdoors in hot weather or exercising.

Cats also are prone to dehydration and can exhibit the same symptoms as dogs. Cat owners also must be diligent in checking for dehydration symptoms in their pets.

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