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How To Tell When Your Dog Is Dehydrated?

What Is Dehydration?

Dehydration in dogs is not a joke, and it’s severe and life-threatening. Dehydration is the phenomenon in which water loss occurs as the name indicated de for loss and hydration for water. So in worldly terms, you can say the excessive loss of water or damaging loss of water. Still, the extensive definition tells us more than it is the loss of water with some essential minerals such as sodium, calcium, and others.

So dehydration is the least amount of body liquid and body fluid. It can occur by little take-up of liquid and fluid or the extra outflow of liquid, as in diarrhea or sweating.

As a pet owner, there is a need to understand your dog’s condition and notice the symptoms when your dog is feeling low and what to do at that point. There is also a common ideology that dehydration relates to the season, and yes, it’s true to some extent.

Why Water Is Necessary For The Body?

Water level maintenance is important in the body of vertebrates, either humans or canines. In dogs average water level helps

  • To Maintain the pH level
  • Regulate the working of cells.
  • It saves the cells from rupturing
  • Provides medium for the transfer of minerals and ions
  • Act as a lubricant

Symptoms Of Dehydration In Dogs

A vigilant pet owner knows the importance of symptoms in animals as they cannot speak, so all need to understand their necessities and conditions through the symptoms.

Sometimes symptoms are mild, so they can be treated at home by providing water, sometimes it becomes worst, and you need to visit a veterinarian.

Handsome veterinarian at vet clinic examining cute black pug dog, pointing finger at pet during a check-up with a stethoscope, white background.

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Here are the symptoms that indicate dehydration in your feline friend.

  • Panting excessively
  • Dry nose, gum, and mouth
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Vomiting
  • Tired and sluggish behavior
  • Diarrhea
  • Staccato like fast breathing
  • Dark urine
  • Loss of balance
  • Lethargy
  • Sticky mucus membrane
  • Wobble walk
  • Heart rate above 140
  • Increase urine odour
  • The weak rear end area
  • Dullness or changes in mental awareness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Rapid weight loss
  • White gums
  • Weak pulse
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dull cornea
  • Shock
  • Collapse

Test For Dehydration

If you observe the symptoms mentioned above, you are still in doubt, then do these tests to clarify and verify.

Skin Test

Put your finger and thumb on the skin of the dog and pinch on the tiny portion of skin in between the shoulders and pull it off for an inch or two. Then leave it if skin retrieves its back condition immediately, then relax, so your dog is not dehydrated. In mild dehydration cases, the skin will take a few seconds to come back to its normal state, and in severe conditions, it will not take a back position for a few minutes.

Gum Test

This is the second test that can be done at a capillary refill time. Now lift the dog’s upper lip and press the gums harder with the index finger till it becomes white. Then leave and observe if the color turns red capillary refilling done immediately then your dog is ok. If it takes more than three seconds, then your dog is dehydrated, and it’s time to visit the veterinarian.

Young woman professional veterinarian and pretty girl check a dog breed Yorkshire terrier using otoscope in a pet hospital.

Causes Of Dehydration In Dogs

After noting down the symptoms, now there is time to list the causes of dehydration in dogs. Better to make up for these causes than to treat them again and again. Here are few reasons that are responsible for dehydration in the canine friend

  • Decrease or lack of food intake
  • Excessive panting or breathing
  • More Elimination
  • Decrease or lack of water intake
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Perspiration through paws and other body areas
  • Illness, such as kidney disease, diabetes
  • Severe diseases such as cancers
  • Injury,
  • burns
  • Overheating

All these are the fundamental cause of dehydration in dogs. The best way is to cut these issues for the health and safety of the dog community.

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Diagnosis Of Dehydration In Dogs

Simple diagnosis can be made at home, as mentioned earlier in this article. But the detailed check-up and diagnosis will be made by the veterinarian. Visit your veterinarian to inquire about the condition of your fido friend. The veterinarian will examine the dog, and a test will be done to note down any underlying conditions. Veterinarians can tell you if it is simple dehydration or any effect of food and liquid intake. A blood test and urinalysis will be done to know the impact of dehydration on the kidney and urinary bladder. Make it clear to your vet if you found any symptom in your dog that is unusual as it will help in the treatment. Different X-rays and ct scans will also be done to check the effects of dehydration on the cell and tissues.

Treatment Of Dehydration In Canine Friend

Treatment of this phenomenon is necessary for the normal lifestyle of dogs as they need for normal and so many regular activities. Mild dehydration can be treated or recovered by simple fluid taking or water intake. Keep the water in a bowl near your fido, and he or she can take it up whenever in need. But if your dog has severe dehydration, then there will be monitored water intake that will be done under the supervision of a veterinarian through the cathedral. A direct intake becomes necessary sometimes, but it’s not good on a regular basis. So try to keep your dog hydrated by drinking water.

If the dehydration is left untreated, then it causes death or some other life-threatening issues. So better to consult with the veterinarian on time to find a solution and treatment to be done.

Recovery In Dogs From The Effects Of Dehydration

A simple fluid intake can recover mild dehydration. However, if you observe any change in the dog’s behavior after water intake, then continue it; otherwise, visit a veterinarian for proper health care. Also, do care that your dog does not drink a lot of water in one attempt, especially after exercise.


In conclusion, water is the essential component to live a better and healthy life. So the measurable quantity of water must be intake. Even brain cells need water for normal behavior and memory work, so there is a need to keep a check on the body fluid amount or water intake percentage as a pet parent. Excess if everything is terrible, so don’t give too much water to your canine partner; otherwise, it will be bad for his health as well. Also, try to cut down the factors that ate the reason and cause of dehydration as prevention is better than treatment. It’s your responsibility to care for your fido friend or pets as they have rights, and you are bound to fulfill them as a pet parent.


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