Dehydration is as real for dogs as it is for humans. Losing more water and electrolytes than is taken in can cause your canine companion a range of problems. While dehydration is common in canines, it can also be extremely serious, even fatal.
So, how can you spot the signs of dehydration, and what can you do to help your dog in these instances? Read on to find out what causes dehydration in dogs and the treatment for dehydration in dogs.
This article was reviewed by our expert veterinarian, Chris Vanderhoof (DMV).
Causes of dehydration in dogs
Dogs can become dehydrated in several ways. According to research, hot weather and heatstroke, insufficient intake of fluids, illness, fever, and persistent vomiting and diarrhea can all lead to dehydration in dogs.
Read more: How Much Water Does Your Pet Need?
Symptoms of dehydration in dogs
Not sure how to tell if your dog is dehydrated? The first sign is a loss of elasticity in the skin. If you pull lightly on your dog's skin, the skin remains pinched and takes a little bit longer to return to normal. This is your first indication that your dog requires fluids.
Dry and sticky gums are another sign that the loss of moisture is causing problems. In this event, your dog's saliva will become pasty and gooey.
Other signs to look out for include vomiting, a dry nose, and sunken eyes. Suppose you're not home and are using your Petcube interactive dog camera to keep an eye on your beloved dog. In that case, you may see your dog looks a little lethargic and less energetic than usual. Maybe he doesn't react as excitedly as usual when he hears your voice through the cam.
Pet Keen has recently reviewed Petcube's cameras in their "10 Best Pet Cameras for Cats in 2022 – Reviews & Top Picks!" article, so you can make sure you know what you buy!
Don't delay seeking treatment when you notice the signs of dehydration in your dog.
What is Pedialyte?
Dehydration in humans is often caused by intense exercise, heat, and illnesses like stomach flu and food poisoning. In these instances, most humans will reach for a product like Pedialyte. This specially formulated drink quickly replaces sugar and electrolytes to combat dehydration.
The term electrolytes refer to several minerals that facilitate the movement of nutrients into the cells. These include sodium, chloride, and potassium.
So, if Pedialyte helps with dehydration in humans, would it also work for dogs? Can dogs drink Pedialyte? If so, how much Pedialyte can I give my dog?
Risks of giving Pedialyte to dogs
Can dogs have Pedialyte? A small amount of Pedialyte is unlikely to harm your dog. Still, Pedialyte is a product formulated for humans whose bodies function very differently from their canine companions.
There are numerous risks involved with giving Pedialyte to dogs.
Pedialyte is formulated for humans. A dog's electrolyte balance is different from that of a human. Specifically, the sodium levels in Pedialyte are much too high for canines and can cause other problems.
Pedialyte also includes sugar which can be harmful to dogs, particularly dogs with diabetes.
2. Worsening the situation
When it comes to dehydration in dogs, trying home remedies can be harmful as it delays much-needed veterinary treatment. This is especially true when a dog is vomiting continuously. Administering Pedialyte can, in some cases, make the dehydration and electrolyte imbalances even worse.
Where persistent vomiting and diarrhea are concerned, it's best to get to a vet as soon as possible.
3. Treat the cause
Dehydration is sometimes a symptom of something else. Treating dehydration without tackling the real issue isn't helpful in such cases.
If your dog is severely dehydrated, a vet can hydrate and rebalance your dog much more effectively and safely.
Other treatments for dog dehydration
In most cases, the best thing you can do for a dehydrated dog is to ensure plenty of cool, fresh water within easy reach. Have multiple water bowls in locations all around the house. Make it as easy as possible for your dog to drink.
For more severe cases of dehydration, we recommend not trying to treat this at home without the guidance of a vet. Significant fluid loss can lead to serious health problems and even death if left untreated. Not to mention that sometimes there are underlying conditions that can complicate matters.
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Can dogs drink Pedialyte?
Can? Maybe. Should they? Probably not. Pedialyte is formulated for big ol' humans. Not dogs or cats. You can add some unflavored Pedialyte to your dog's water which might help.
How much Pedialyte for dogs?
If your dog has a small amount of Pedialyte, it will likely not cause any problems. However, we'd still recommend not giving them any and getting them seen by a vet.
What about Pedialyte for dogs with parvo?
In some shelters, Pedialyte is used to treat puppies with parvo. That said, it's used under the supervision of a vet and in conjunction with other treatments. Pedialyte does not treat parvo.
Is there a kind of homemade Pedialyte for dogs?
If your dog is dehydrated, water is always best. You can also try giving your dog bullion or low sodium chicken broth until you can get to a vet. If your dog isn't drinking water, chicken or beef broth may entice them – the meaty scent is often too good to resist, and your doggo will be slurping up those fluids in no time.
We always recommend seeking treatment as early as possible. Dehydration can be fatal. If your dog is dehydrated – don't delay treatment.
Can I give my dog Pedialyte for vomiting?
There are many reasons why your dog could be vomiting. If the vomiting is continuous, something else will likely require veterinary care. Giving your dog Pedialyte won't treat the vomiting. It may even make dehydration worse.
It's best to get your dog to a vet where the proper treatment can be given for the vomiting.