Dog Dehydration Causes

Dog Dehydration Causes Caution Level Action to Take
Excessive Sweat 1/5 Move your dog to a cool and shady spot. Be sure water is available at all times. (Read More)
Sickness 3/5 Make sure your dog drinks plenty of water. If signs of sickness do not subside, visit your vet. (Read More)

Dog Dehydration - Causes & Symptoms

Dehydration Causes – From Sweat

With the warm summer months coming, it’s important to make sure your dog is well hydrated to avoid dehydration which could lead to organ failure or death. Dehydration is caused when excess loss of water in the body, body parts, or organs takes place from fluid deprivation, heat exposure, or sickness. When a dog is exposed to excessive heat, just like humans, they sweat.

Sweating is a natural process the body performs when heat levels rise. Sweating allows the core body temperature to cool. While sweating is an effective way to cool down, your dog will become dehydrated from loss of fluid.

Dehydration Causes – From Sickness

Another common cause of dog dehydration is from illness. When the body is sick, temperatures rise. This temperature increase creates a chain reaction. A higher temperature means your body is working harder. Thus fluids are being utilized more.

When your temperature increases, your metabolism increases. Your metabolism utilizes water. If your dog’s nose is running, is experiencing diarrhea, or is vomiting, this will also increase loss of fluids.

Dog Dehydration Symptoms

Dehydration symptoms are easy to identify because they are external. External dog dehydration symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, dry mouth, tired lazy eyes, loss of appetite, dark yellow urine, and panting. If your dog is vomiting or experiencing diarrhea these are two common and easy symptoms to spot. Examine your dog’s mouth, is it dry? Look closely at the tongue and under the lips. Look deep into your dog’s eyes, are they sunken? Do they look sleepy? Is he/she eating less than they normally do?

To examine the color of your dog’s urine and determine if they are dehydrated, take a look at our: Dog Urine Color article. Lastly do you notice your dog panting more than usual? Do they constantly sound out of breath? If any or many of these symptoms appear, your dog could be dehydrated.

Dog Dehydration Treatment

Treatment From Heat/Sweating

Always have a fresh bowl of water for your dog. If you have a large home or your dog doesn’t seem to have the urge to drink water often, place a few bowls of water around your home and outside. Several bowls of water provides easier access. If your dog likes to play (as most dogs do) place an ice cube inside the bowl of water. Many dogs enjoy playing with the ice cube. Your dog may try to get after the cube which will increase the changes of a few sips of water.

There are hundreds of cute dog bowls available, you can find one that matches your home décor if you would like! Or, if you are a do it yourself kind of person, check out our article on how to make your own dog water feeder.

*A great way to get dogs drinking fluids is freezing chicken broth into ice cubes. Simply pour chicken broth into your ice cube tray and freeze. Your dog will enjoy licking the delicious flavored cubes. Not only will this provide hydration but also essential electrolytes!*

If the weather is at extreme temperatures the best dog dehydration treatment is to keep your dog indoors. You may want to go outside and play with your pup but use common sense. Sometimes it is best to let your dog outside to go to the bathroom, then get them back inside until the heat wave in your area has passed. If the weather seems bearable enough for your dog to enjoy some time outside, make sure some shade is accessible. The shade provided by a big tree or a canopy will provide your dog a place to rest and cool down if needed. Try to avoid long walks and excessive play.

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Bring your dog to an area where they can play in the water. The beach, a park with a lake or river, or a backyard with a pool are all great places. This will keep your dog cool and decrease the chances of becoming dehydrated. Make sure you bring your dog to a pet-friendly beach and a pet-friendly park. While your dog may be enjoying their time in the lake or river, be aware of fishers fishing or boating to avoid possible injury.

Dogs should never drink water from a pool. The chlorine pools require could cause skin and digestive problems to your dog. Make sure there is a bowl of fresh water nearby for your dog to drink from. Many dog owners are unsure if it’s safe for their dog to swim in a pool, but as long as there is easy access to get out of the pool and they aren’t drinking the pool water they should be fine!

If you’re on a road trip or camping make sure to keep supplies such as a couple bottles of water available to use as drinking water. Check out our camping and hiking with your dog checklist.

Dog Dehydration Treatment From Sickness

If your dog will drink, but still shows signs of illness you should contact your Veterinarian. If your dog refuses to drink it is recommended to visit your veterinarian immediately.

How to Check for Dog Dehydration

To check if your dog is already dehydrated try the following:

  1. Check the elasticity of your dog’s skin. Lightly pinch the back of your dog’s neck to see if the skin quickly returns to its normal position. A slow return may indicate dehydration.
  2. Check your dog’s gums. Hydrated dogs have wet, pink, slobbery gums while dehydrated dogs have dry, sticky gums.
  3. Check your dog’s circulatory response time. When you apply pressure to your dog’s gums the area under your finger should turn pale and then when you release this pressure the gums should return to their normal pink/red color within 2 seconds. If the color returns slowly this means your dog may be having circulation problems which could be caused from dehydration.

If you think your dog may already be dehydrated, immediately seek a cool location and make sure there is an accessible source of water. Don’t let your dog drink too much water at once, it may lead to vomiting. Wrap the dogs head and belly with a cold wet towel. Allow your dog to rest and watch for further symptoms such as vomiting and excessive panting. If your dog refuses to drink or doesn’t show improvement, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Enjoy the summer weather with your dogs but remember to have the essentials like water to keep you and your pet safe. It’s easy to go out and enjoy the hot days but preparing before you go out on a walk, a beach day, or a road trip will ensure that everyone has a good time, including your dog!

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June 8, 2011
Latest Update: August 26th, 2020

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