Water is the most important nutrient in your dog’s daily diet.  It is actually more important that protein, fats and carbs.  Normally, your pet’s body is 80% water so it is very important for your pet to remain hydrated. They can easily become dehydrated due to vomiting, diarrhea, overheating or just not getting enough to drink.  Prevent dehydration by keeping plenty of water available. Leave two bowls readily available in case one is knocked over. 

It is very easy to tell if your pet is dehydrated. They have loose skin at the back of the neck, called the scruff, which can be easily grasped and pulled up.   When your dog is hydrated, the scruff of their neck should snap back into place when released. If the skin returns to place slowly, your dog is dehydrated. If the dehydration is severe, the scruff will stand up like a ridge when released. 

Other symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting with or without diarrhea – which makes the dehydration even worse
  • Lethargy, loss of energy
  • Sunken, dry looking eyes
  • Panting
  • Dry nose
  • Dry, sticky gums
  • Thick saliva

If your dog does become dehydrated here are some tips:

  • Give your dog water but don’t let them guzzle it. Drinking too rapidly can cause vomiting and make the dehydration worse.
  • Try giving a fluid with electrolytes, such as Pedialyte. Your pet can lose minerals when they are dehydrated and this can help replace them.
  • If they seem reluctant to drink, try Gatorade, beef or chicken broth or even the water from the can of tuna. Flavors can tempt your pet.
  • Check their mouth. Perhaps they have gotten a burr that is causing pain and preventing them from drinking.
  • Give them ice cubes. If they have gone without water for too long and have trouble keeping it down, ice cubes can help.
  • If all else fails, you can use an eye dropper or turkey baster and squirt water into the side of their mouth.

You should see your vet if your dog has become dehydrated.