Dog dehydration can be very serious. Dogs are not that efficient at cooling off their bodies, especially in warm weather. This means that dehydration can be very dangerous to your pet’s health. Dogs that have become dehydrated could be at risk of getting heatstroke, which can be deadly without immediate treatment.
Dog owners need to be aware of the signs of dog dehydration, and they also need to know how to protect their pets from this health risk. There are so many reasons that this is important knowledge, but it is most critical that dog owners be aware of the risks associated with dog dehydration during the summer months.
What Are the Signs of Dog Dehydration?
Dogs can present with a variety of different symptoms when they have become dehydrated. Some of the signs of this medical condition are more obvious than others. Not every dog will experience all the symptoms that we are going to discuss either. Even if your pet is only displaying a few signs of being dehydrated, that is enough to warrant a trip to the veterinarian.
The most common symptoms of dog dehydration are panting, sunken or dry-looking eyes, and reduced energy levels or lethargy. Dogs will usually also have stiff skin that is not elastic, and they might be unwilling to eat. Dry gums or gums that are too light in color might also be present.
As pets progress from dehydration to the early stages of heatstroke, your pet might start vomiting or have diarrhea. They could also be confused, have balance troubles, or even collapse. Dog dehydration might not be immediately obvious in the first 10-20 minutes that your pet is experiencing it, but most pets become continuously sicker over the course of the first half an hour that they are dehydrated. Being able to recognize the warning signs of this health condition can prevent a major medical emergency.
How to Protect Your Dog Against Dehydration
There are some key things that you can do which will help your dog to avoid dehydration, especially when the weather is warm and sunny.
Avoid Going Outside When it is Hot
One of the best ways that you can prevent dehydration in dogs is to keep your dog inside when it is more than 80 degrees out. You should plan to take your dog running, walking, or hiking during the early morning or the late evening if you know that it will be too hot for them to maintain a safe body temperature.
Dogs that exert in hot weather are much more likely to become dehydrated as well. If you do need to take your pet outside to go to the bathroom or for other essentials, keep playtime to a minimum. This will help keep your pet from getting too hot and struggling to get hydrated again.
Have Water Available at All Times
Dogs need to have access to as much clean water as they wish all day long. One of the main ways that your pet can cool itself off is by drinking water. If you have not provided water in the backyard or the water that you have on offer for your pet is not clean, they could easily become dehydrated. Making sure that your pet has access to enough clean drinking water at all times is key to preventing dehydration.
If you are taking your pet with you on a walk, a hike, or even a run, be sure that you bring along a dog water bowl and some water. Not every dog park or common shared space has a dog watering station for you to access when your pet needs to rehydrate. Having your own supply of water and a portable water bowl on hand can make all the difference when it comes to keeping your pet hydrated.
If you do need to bring your pet with you when the weather is hot, be sure that your dog can get into the shade if they wish. Exposing dogs to the sun for long periods of time without relief can be enough to make them dangerously dehydrated, even if they are not active. Many people make this mistake when it comes to setting up the backyard for an outdoor dog. You will still need to provide shelter for these pets so that they can get in and out of the sun.
Making sure that your pet can get into the shade is key when it comes to keeping your dog safe from dehydration. Dogs that are exposed to heat and sunlight for hours at a time will have a very hard time cooling off their bodies and will be very likely to suffer from severe dehydration. Extended exposure to heat alone is enough to make your dog dehydrated, but providing shade can help create a cool and comfortable space for your pet to spend time in.
Dog Dehydration is a Serious Condition
Dog dehydration is a serious health complication for dogs of all ages and breeds. Puppies and older dogs are more at risk of getting dehydrated, but any dog can suffer from this condition. Making sure that your pet has access to shade and enough water to drink can be key in preventing dehydration. You should also be sure that your pet does not exert or spend a lot of time outside when the weather is hotter than 80 degrees.
Taking these steps will help to protect your pet from the dangers of dehydration, and they will also make it easier for you to exercise your pet safely in the summer months or when the weather is hot. Always be sure that you do not hesitate to take your dog to the vet if you think they are dehydrated. It is often best practice to have the vet give your dog intravenous fluids if they have become dehydrated. Your vet can also check for health problems that might be causing your dog to become dehydrated more rapidly than normal.
About Birch Lake Animal Hospital
The staff at Birch Lake Animal Hospital seeks to provide the best possible medical care for our highly-valued patients and clients.