I grew up in a county where my friends and I owned many dogs during our childhood and teen years. In the summer months after running and playing with us, our pets would often pant really fast, with saliva dripping from the sides of their mouths.
My grandmother said panting was how dogs cooled themselves down, when overheated. Whenever our pets would overheat, we gave them water, adding ice on extremely hot days. We did not know then, that panting is actually a sign of dehydration. It is important for pet owners to recognize the signs of dehydration in their dogs, and learn what to do to prevent it.
Other symptoms of pet dehydration are your dog having sunken eyes, laying around, feeling excessively warm, slowing down, and being less animated. Severe dehydration causes the dog to be wobbly and unsteady on his feet.
Sometimes we gave our dogs blocks of ice to lick on to keep them cool. We had a big cherry tree next to our house in the back yard. It gave a lot of shade. My pets loved to drink water, eat the ice and lay in that cool place. They also could go under the back porch.
If your dog does not obtain proper hydration he or she will be in danger of dehydration turning into heat stroke, and eventually causing death. Symptoms of heat stroke are difficulty breathing, and heavy panting.
The animal’s tongue and mucous membranes may appear bright red. The dog’s saliva will be thick and the dog often will vomit. If possible take the dog’s rectal temperature. With heat stroke it will be 104 to 110. Your pet will become progressively unsteady on his or her feet and will have bloody diarrhea.
As the animal goes into shock, it’s mucous membranes will turn gray. The dog will collapse, have seizures, become comatose, and death will soon occur. You can prevent dehydration and heat stroke by doing the following:
1. Make sure your pet always has water to drink. Dogs lose water when they pant so provide , at least 2 or 3 bowls. Add ice as temperatures rise.
2. Provide a cool place to rest, and keep your pet from sleeping on concrete.
3. If you dog shows signs of dehydration, do not allow your pet to drink too much water to quickly. Slow re-hydration is best. Drinking too much too soon, may lead to vomiting. You may allow the dog to lick ice, if he has gone a long time without water.
4. You can also give your dog electrolyte mixed in water at the first signs of dehydration.
5. If your dog goes for a long time without drinking water, please call your veterinarian, ASAP.