Here’s something you might not know about your dog: he can lose 50 percent of his muscle or body fat and survive, but losing just 10% of his water weight could be dangerous. Water is easy to overlook, but its importance can’t be understated. Read on for tips on how to keep your dog hydrated.
Signs of dehydration
Your dog may be dehydrated if he:
- Is lethargic or sluggish
- Has sunken eyes
- Shows a loss of appetite
- Has dry, sticky gums
- Seems depressed
Although it isn’t foolproof, one way to check for dehydration is to gently lift the skin on the back of your dog’s neck or between his shoulders. The skin should immediately return to normal. If it keeps a tented shape for a few seconds, he may lack fluids.
Playing in hot weather or a bout of either diarrhea or vomiting can put him in danger of dehydration, so pay attention to the signs. If he shows these symptoms, take your dog to the vet immediately. Dehydration can set in within 18 to 24 hours.
Tips to prevent dehydration
- Your dog should drink at least one ounce of water per pound of body weight every day.
- Clean and refresh your dog’s water bowl daily. Stagnant water can grow bacteria.
- Watch your dog’s water intake by filling his bowl to the same level every day.
- Get a water bowl that is hard to knock over.
- Take water for your dog when you’re traveling or exercising.
- During warmer weather, make sure your dog rests and rehydrates after being outdoors.
- A dog’s breath is six percent moisture, so don’t ignore hydration in colder months.
- Be especially careful if your dog is older, diabetic, pregnant, nursing, has had diarrhea or vomiting, or suffers from an illness.
If your dog seems in danger of dehydration and refuses to drink, try giving him watered-down juice (non-citrus juice), chicken or beef broth with low sodium, water with ice in it, or water with a little kibble in it. Non-flavored Pedialyte mixed with equal parts water can also help delay dehydration, although it won’t cure it.
Keep an eye on the H20 to keep your dog happy and hydrated.