Water isn’t called the building block of life just for kicks. Dogs, like all living things, need water to survive, even more than food. Dehydration occurs when the water content in an organism’s body is lower than normal. With the loss of water also comes the loss of essential minerals like potassium and sodium.
While dehydration in dogs is typically caused by illness, it is sometimes caused by simply not providing adequate amounts of food and water for your pet.
By doing simple things like giving your dog lots of water, monitoring its drinking habits, and keeping it away from water sources that are rife with potential illness causing bacteria like toilet bowls, you might be able to keep dehydration at bay.
Dehydration occurs in three stages, with the final stage being the most dangerous to your pet’s health.
Here are several clear signs that will let you know your dog is dehydrated during the different stages:
During the early stages of dehydration, symptoms include:
- Lack of energy
- Sunken eyes
- Excessive panting
- Dry nose and mouth
As dehydration intensifies, your dog’s skin will begin to lose its elasticity. A good way to detect this is by gently pulling on the skin on your pooch’s back. Normally, the skin should immediately return to its original form when you release your grip, but that transition is a lot slower when a dog is dehydrated. In severe cases, the skin stays up.
Spotting a dog in the final stages of dehydration isn’t hard since simple things like walking will be difficult for the animal at this point. Movement will be wobbly at best, and you will also notice all the symptoms listed above. Obviously, at this stage, your pet’s health is in jeopardy, so a trip to the veterinarian is probably a good idea.
Treating dehydration in your dog
While it’s safer to hand your pet over to the professionals if you find it in the latter stages of dehydration, you can help return your dog’s water levels to normal if its case isn’t too severe. For milder cases, giving your dog lots of water to drink should do the drink. For more severe cases, try adding electrolytes to help restore vital minerals and nutrients your pet might have lost.
While rehydrating your dog, make sure it isn’t drinking up too fast since that can lead to vomiting, meaning the loss of more water and nutrients.