As any dog owner knows, dogs love to be outside in all kinds of weather. Unfortunately, when being outside means frolicking in the summer heat your dog might be at risk of becoming dehydrated, which can be dangerous and even deadly. There are important signs your dog is dehydrated that all pet owners should know in order to keep their pooch safe and comfortable in the summer sun.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, dehydration occurs when your dog looses fluids faster than they take them in, causing their bodies to have to "borrow" water and important electrolytes from their cells to keep working properly. Your dog can easily become dehydrated when it’s hot outside, because they lose water when they sweat and pant to keep cool, PetMD notes. Because your dog can’t say, “I’m thirsty,” you need to be on the lookout for dehydration to keep them safe and healthy. Important signs of dog dehydration include a loss of skin elasticity, or dry mouth, notes the AKC Canine Health Foundation. According to Vets Now, other symptoms, like sunken eyes, lethargy, or collapse, might actually indicate more severe dehydration that requires immediate medical attention.
Of course, the American Veterinary Medical Association notes that preventing your dog from getting dehydrated is best. When it’s hot outside, try to avoid taking your dog with you. And if they need to be outside, be sure they have access to shade and plenty of cool water and that you know these signs your dog is dehydrated:
As most dog owners can tell you, the inside of a dog's mouth usually ranges from moist to dripping with drool. So, according to PetMD, if your dog’s mouth is dry, sticky, or simply not as drool-filled as normal, they might be dehydrated.
As the AKC Canine Health Foundation notes, another way to test for dehydration in your dog is to feel your dog's gums. If they are wet your dog has had enough to drink, but if they feel dry they are probably thirsty.
Loss Of Skin Elasticity
According to the AKC Canine Health Foundation, one of the first signs your dog is dehydrated is a loss of skin elasticity. When your dog doesn’t get enough to drink, their body is forced to use the fluid and vital electrolytes (like potassium and sodium) already in their bodies to make up for what is lost by sweating and panting in order to stay cool in the summer heat.
According to the same site, an easy way to test to see whether or not your dog is dehydrated is to gently pinch the skin on the back of your dog’s neck. If they are well-hydrated, their skin should immediately bounce back into place. If they aren’t, they are dehydrated and you should give them some water and/or a mixture of water and an oral re-hydration fluid like Pedialyte (depending on what your veterinarian recommends), says PetMD.
According to PetMD, if your dog’s eyes appear sunken and dry they are already dangerously dehydrated and need medical help immediately. So if you notice this particular red flag call their veterinarian and get them some needed fluids right away.
According to Vets Now, another common sign of dehydration is your dog acting lethargic or less energetic than normal. If your dog is just not acting like themselves and they show other signs of dehydration, it’s time to call their veterinarian.
To avoid your dog getting dehydrated, always make sure they have access to fresh water in the back yard, and bring water along when you take them for warm weather walks or car trips away from home.
According to the AKC Canine Health Foundation, when dogs get seriously dehydrated their bodies can actually stop working optimally and their organs can start to shut down. They advise pet owners to get help right away if their dog collapses while playing outside in the summer heat, as it is nothing short of a medical emergency.