How To Recognise Dehydration In Dogs

  • 17/03/2018

There are few things sadder than a dog with its tail between its legs. If your furry friend is not feeling well, a reason for it might be dehydration.

What’s wrong?

Does your dog suddenly seem too tired to move? Or perhaps, does it seem obnoxious for no reason? If it is panting and it seems like it hasn’t slept in days, try testing for dehydration first. Similarly to children, dogs are incapable of pretending and their physical state will affect their behaviour immediately.

The turgor test

The first place to check is the scruff. The scruff is the “extra” skin at the back of a dog’s neck or above its shoulders. Pull it up gently. If it immediately falls back, the dog is well hydrated, and you should look for signs of a different condition. If the skin takes more than 2 secs to resume its shape, its skin has poor turgor. This means that the dog really is dehydrated.

How to confirm?

The overall behaviour described in the first paragraph indicates the possibility of dehydration. Apart from the lack of turgor, loose skin shows the loss of elasticity and confirms the condition. Check your dog’s gums. If they are dry and sticky, your dog lacks saliva. We know that a healthy dog has a wet nose, so if the nose is dry, that’s another confirmation.

Is it sick?

Certain conditions can increase the risk of dehydration. Some of them are cancer, diabetes, pregnancy etc.   If your dog is old, it might have arthritis which makes it painful to move and it may feel reluctant to get up to drink. In addition, look for acute symptoms such as diarrhoea or vomiting. They cause a quick loss of liquids. A dehydrated dog will urinate less, and the urine will be darker.

Did you forget something?

The first thing to do is find your dog’s water bowl and inspect it. Is it empty? Did your dog manage to tip it over? The obnoxious behaviour from the first paragraph is not a typical sign of dehydration. It is more of a nervous plea your dog uses to get your attention. It is the beginning stage when the dog is trying to point out it is thirsty. Make sure your dog’s bowl is always full of water by getting an auto-fill water bowl.

How to treat it?

A sick dehydrated dog should be taken to see a vet. They will most likely try to make up for the loss of liquids through an IV. If there is no diarrhoea, vomiting, or heat stroke, you should monitor your dog and offer it water every once in a while. Add electrolytes to the water to help them quickly balance out their system.

Pay attention to the extreme weather, too hot means more water. If it is freezing cold, it means hot water but more frequently. Water is essential to them as much as it is to you.

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