Dehydration in Dogs: what are The Signs and Symptoms & How Is It Treated?

What is dog dehydration?

Dehydration is a water deficiency in the body. Your puppy loses water every day during elimination, the exhalation of each breath, and through the evaporation of saliva during panting.

Dehydration in dogs is a common, potentially life-threatening condition. It’s the result of not drinking enough water and electrolytes or losing too much fluid. It requires immediate veterinary attention. If left untreated dehydration can cause serious organ damage and even death.

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When a dog’s bodily fluid drops just five percent, you may begin to see signs of dehydration. The dog may be lethargic and his eyes, mouth, and nose may appear dry. His skin may lose its elasticity. In severe dehydration, your dog’s eyes may appear sunken into his skull. He might show signs of shock, which include rapid heart rate, weak pulse, bright red gums and mucous membranes, weakness, shivering, listlessness, unconsciousness, and in extreme cases, death.

Making sure that lots of clean water is available helps prevent dehydration. Puppies drink more during hot weather, but during winter you must also be sure that the water bowl doesn’t freeze and prevent access to water. Anything that increases fluid loss, such as diarrhea, may also result in dehydration.

What Causes Dehydration?

All dogs are at risk of dehydration if they don’t eat or drink enough. There are many possible causes of dehydration in dogs. The most common cause people think of is overheating and perspiration, mainly through the paws, associated with exercise or exposure to dry weather.

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There are various reasons your dog may refuse to drink, including

  • An underlying illness such as (heat stroke or a fever)
  • Nauseous
  • Lethargy
  • Pain
  • Loss of fluid through vomiting, diarrhoea and or panting
  • Passing urine more frequently and in larger volumes than normal (as a result of kidney failure, diabetes and other internal problems, which often cause animals to drink more).

Certain conditions, such as kidney disease, diabetes, and some cancers are also known to cause dehydration. Dogs who are very young or old, dogs who are pregnant or nursing, and small dog breeds are at increased risk for dehydration.

However, drinking more is usually insufficient to compensate for the large volume of fluid they are losing if they are suffering from the above internal problems. It’s vital that you seek veterinary attention if your dog shows any changes in their urination or drinking habits.

Symptoms of dehydration in dogs may begin mildly at first, but can quickly progress to signs of severe illness. Vomiting and diarrhea can further exacerbate the condition.

The earliest noticeable sign of dehydration is dry mucous membranes in which the dog’s gums and tongue are sticky or dry instead of wet. The saliva may become sticky or even stringy.

Is My Dog Dehydrated?

Signs to watch for include skin “tenting,” meaning that when you gently lift a bit of skin at the back of your pet’s neck, it stays up like a tent and sort of stuck together

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