Dehydration in dogs is a problem that must be considered and taken seriously. Long-term water loss can cause many health problems and sad consequences that can lead to loss of life if left untreated. In this article, we will discuss what you need to know about dehydration in dogs.
What Is Dehydration in Dogs? Why Does It Happen?
Dehydration in dogs, just like in all other mammals, occurs when the amount of water taken is lower than the amount of water used by the body, and the dog’s general water amount falls below normal. However, this is not just about not drinking water. Disorders such as shortness of breath, vomiting, fever and diarrhea can also cause rapid dehydration of the body and consequent dehydration. Disorders that cause dehydration also bring loss of appetite.
When there is not enough water in the body, the body replenishes the missing water by drawing water from the cells. This causes the loss of electrolytes such as potassium, chloride and sodium and affects all functions of the body, including muscle function. Excessive water loss causes disease and death if left untreated. In case of dehydration, it is necessary to ensure that the dog gets enough water, and if there is a health problem that causes dehydration, it is necessary to treat that problem. In some extreme cases, dogs may need to be put on fluid therapy at the veterinarian. Dehydration in dogs is successfully treated when intervened in a timely manner.
What Are the Symptoms of Dehydration in Dogs?
Dehydration in dogs is manifested by many different symptoms. However, some symptoms may not be easy to notice because they are similar to the symptoms of other diseases. Among the most common symptoms of dehydration are;
- Loss of skin elasticity,
- Loss of appetite,
- intermittent breathing,
- sunken eyes,
- dry nose,
- Dry and sticky gums.
The simplest check to understand dehydration is to look at the skin’s elasticity. It is possible to understand whether there is dehydration by pulling the skin upwards from the shoulder part. It is understood that there is no fluid loss when the skin returns to its original state immediately after leaving it. However, when the pulled-out skin gradually regains its former shape, it means that there is a loss of fluid. Dehydration affects the skin first. It is extremely important to do this test carefully, especially in breeds with wrinkled skin such as the Bulldog. Because even under normal conditions, the skin of dogs of this breed is not very elastic.
Another method by which the sign of dehydration can be easily recognized is to check the gums. When you gently press and release the dog’s gums, whiteness appears for a second, and then blood fills the capillaries again and the gums immediately return to their natural pink color. However, in cases where fluid loss occurs, it takes longer to return to its natural state. This is because the blood returns to the capillaries in a longer time.
Dehydration Treatment in Dogs
Provide your dog with fresh water immediately when you suspect dehydration. Especially in hot weather, dehydration occurs much faster. Dehydration also causes a vicious cycle, especially in dogs fed wet food. Dogs that are not fed dry food also get fluids from what they eat. However, after dehydration, they lose their appetite and start to eat less. In this case, they also lose the water they get from the food. When the dog is not getting enough fluid, the body pulls the fluid out of the cell, which causes electrolyte loss. In these cases, veterinarians may recommend treatment with electrolyte supplements. Heat stroke is suspected when any of the above symptoms are seen. In such cases, it is necessary to consult a veterinarian without wasting time. With subcutaneous or intravenous fluid support, fluid loss can be prevented immediately and further loss can be prevented. When dehydration occurs as a symptom of a different disease, the cause of this condition should be found and treated.
How to Prevent Dehydration in Dogs
In cases where dehydration occurs due to a health problem, the underlying problem should be treated. The way to prevent dehydration due to lack of water consumption in dogs is quite simple. It is enough to make sure that the dog has access to a constant supply of clean and fresh water. It is important to take extra water with you when you go out, especially in the summer. Some dogs need more water than others or are more selective about water. Especially very active, pregnant, newly born or puppies need more water. It is necessary to make sure that these dogs get enough water. You can support dogs to get enough fluids with alternative fluid options such as bone broth or ice cubes. Dogs’ activity levels and exercise needs may vary according to the air temperature and weather conditions. For this reason, they may need more water on some days. You can use travel water bowls to ensure that dogs drink enough clean water on the days you spend outside. You can view the travel type water containers by clicking here.