We tend to associate dehydration with hot days, but the truth is, for our dogs, dehydration can happen at any time. If your dog enjoys a long walk or a good run with his ball, you need to keep your eye out for dehydration symptoms. Just like us, dogs need water in their bodies to function properly. So, if your dog is suffering from dehydration, you may notice some odd behaviors. Here’s what to look for.
Loss of Appetite
If your dog is normally one to guzzle down its food within thirty seconds, but has suddenly become uninterested in the food in its bowl, you’ll automatically know something isn’t right. Most owners won’t assume its dehydration that’s causing the problem. In fact, most owners usually assume their dog is feeling under the weather and decide to monitor their behavior before visiting a vet. If a dog has lost its normally healthy appetite, don’t wait to book an appointment with your vet, especially if your dog becomes lethargic too.
Panting is usually a sign that your dog needs to cool down. On hot days, it’s best to find some helpful tips on how to keep dogs cool. We expect to see our dogs panting after a long walk, but if your dog is panting at unusual times of the day, it could be a sign of dehydration. If you notice this happening to your dog, check that there’s a good supply of fresh water available to him and encourage him to take a few sips. If your dog is dehydrated, it could be better to feed him wet food and some water every hour or so to avoid water intoxication. This can occur when your dog drinks too much water, too fast.
Dry Eyes, Nose and Gums
If your dog is showing signs of dehydration but you aren’t positive that’s what’s causing them, this will be your best way of testing. Check your dog’s eyes, nose and gums for dryness. As a dog owner, you’ll know that dog’s noses are usually wet, so if your dog is showing signs of dryness, a visit to your vet is required. In cases of extreme dehydration, you’ll need your vet to intervene with medication. So, if you find that your dog’s eyes, nose and gums are dry don’t waste any time in booking an emergency appointment.
There’s one final check you can use on your dog when looking for dehydration symptoms and that’s to check his skin. When the skin is starved of moisture, it loses its elasticity. Part the fur on your dog’s stomach and gently pinch the skin between your thumb and forefinger. Look to see how long the skin takes to spring back into position. If it quickly returns, your dog may only be mildly dehydrated, but if it takes a while to fall back, it’s a good indication that your dog is severely dehydrated.
When in doubt, get the advice of a veterinary professional, instead of trying at home fixes.