Dehydration in dogs is a serious cause of concern, and the matter should not be taken lightly. It occurs if the dog has not been drinking sufficient water or if there is a rapid loss of fluid from its system.
When the dehydration reaches to a grave level, emergency veterinary care may be required as well. This is primarily because extreme and untreated dehydration has the potential to damage the organs of the dog or lead to its death.
The following factors should give you an insight into the notion of dehydration in dogs.
Causes of Dehydration in Dogs
If a dog is not drinking enough water or feeding properly, it is at risk of dehydration. Like all beings, something might be holding it back from consuming a proper diet. Frequent urinating on account of kidney failure, diabetes, or loss of fluid because of consistent vomiting or diarrhea may cause a dog to become dehydrated, especially if it is not drinking enough water to make up for the loss.
Reasons Why a Dog May Reject Water
- Fever, heatstroke, or any other hidden disease or illness
- It is in some sort of pain
- Nausea is preventing it from drinking
If you’re subjecting your dog to a lot of activities during hot and dry weather, your dog may end up dehydrated by sweating too much and overheating. If its condition appears serious, a vet should be consulted immediately since some types of cancers are also known to cause dehydration.
Symptoms of Dehydration in Dogs
You can see symptoms when your dog’s blood volume falls and water is drawn out from the cells. In other technical words, the symptoms will start appearing when there is a loss of electrolytes. While there may be striking changes indicating that your dog is dehydrated, subtle changes might emerge as well. Usually, you can tell that a dog is dehydrated through the following factors:
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Your dog appears to be unusually lazy
- It becomes prone to collapsing and shock and seems to be weak overall
- Dry or white gums, dry nose, mild panting, and sunken eyes are a few apparent physical changes
- Mild symptoms may escalate to vomiting or diarrhea
- The urine color is dark
- Weight loss
The Skin Test
This is the most common test used to check a dog’s dehydration level. If the dog is indeed dehydrated, a small pinch may be used to check skin elasticity. The skin would not be as elastic as normal if the dog is not hydrated enough. If the skin does not return to its place immediately, it means dehydration is a cause of concern.
The Gum Test
Dehydration may also be evaluated by pressing a finger against the dog’s gums. The gums are pressed till they turn white, but once the finger is lifted, the gums should return to being pink immediately. A delay may signify dehydration.
Treatment for Dehydration in Dogs
First and foremost, you should always follow the instructions of the vet. They will give your dog a complete checkup in order to determine the cause and extent of dehydration.
While it may be a simple issue like heatstroke or a non-serious internal issue, your vet may suggest X-rays, blood samples, and ultrasounds in some cases. These actions help determine the extent of dehydration more easily and quickly and help your vet decide if fluid therapy and other practices need to be used.
Prevention Is the Best Cure
While the exact quantity depends on the dog’s breed, size, and health history, the general rule is that a dog should drink at least 50-60 ml of water per kilogram of its weight daily. Therefore, make sure there is plenty of water available for your dog every day, especially if the weather is unusually dry and hot.
For serious conditions, an immediate and emergency treatment prescribed by a vet may be necessary.
Difference in Treatments
Pregnant and nursing dogs, older and newly born dogs, and smaller breeds of dogs are more at risk of being dehydrated and may require different treatments as per their conditions.
A dog is indeed a man’s best friend. Every dog owner should be extremely vigilant about their dog’s hydration levels. Sheer carelessness can cost a dog its life, so they should do everything in their power to make sure their pet has all the facilities it needs. Dedicated dog owners are well aware of their dogs’ behaviors and habits. Using such factors to monitor your dog’s hydration is the best way to keep it out of danger.