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Whether your pup is young and healthy or old and fragile, dehydration is a condition that can quickly become fatal for any dog. Common causes of dehydration include vomiting, diarrhea, kidney problems and other illnesses that lead to fluid loss. Additionally, with temps consistently soaring over 100 degrees in the Phoenix summer, even a short walk around the neighborhood could cause overheating or heatstroke, which can complicate matters further. For that reason, at East Valley Animal Hospital, we recommend keeping a close eye on these warning signs of dehydration in dogs.
How Can I Tell If My Is Dog Dehydrated?
Throughout the normal course of a day, your dog is taking in and losing fluids. When the fluid loss becomes disproportionate to the intake, water begins to leave your pup’s cells in order to quench his thirst. As this process occurs, the body loses vital electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium, and chloride, which are responsible for muscle function and other processes in the body.
One of the easiest ways to tell if your dog is dehydrated is to pick up the skin on the back of his neck. If this skin retains elasticity and quickly returns back to its original shape, then your dog is not in urgent need of fluid replacement. If the skin stays up like a tent, then your dog is likely severely dehydrated. When he’s lost that much fluid, then his body has reached a point where he can no longer replenish essential electrolytes in his body through taking fluids orally.
Here are a few other common signs of dehydration in dogs:
- Sunken eyes
- Exhaustion or lethargy
- Loss of appetite
- Dry nose and gums
- Excess urination
- Elevated heart rate
Persistent vomiting and diarrhea should always be taken seriously, as they can quickly lead to dehydration.
What Can I Do If My Pooch Is Dehydrated?
If your dog shows any signs of dehydration, it’s important to take him to your local vet immediately. The symptoms listed above are not always that obvious, and if you wait too long to restore the fluid and electrolyte balance in his body, there could be damaging health consequences. Once at the vet, we’ll perform an exam and get fluids in him as quickly as possible.
As always, and especially throughout the summer, be sure to supply your dog with constant fresh water, and don’t leave him outside for too long. At East Valley Animal Hospital in Gilbert, our compassionate staff cares deeply about your four-legged family members. And while we’re here for you when your furry friend is in need, we hope you heed these warning signs of dehydration in dogs and avoid a critical summer-heat incident!