Keeping your dog hydrated is always important, but it is especially critical during the hot summer months. Dog dehydration can be caused by health conditions, heat exposure, or simply a lack of a readily available water supply. Dehydration in dogs needs to be taken seriously, left untreated, can cause multiple health problems including organ failure and death. It doesn't take long for a dog to become dehydrated, fortunately it's easy to prevent. Dehydration is an excess loss of bodily fluids. It most often involves the loss of water and minerals such as sodium, chloride, and potassium; collectively called electrolytes. Dehydration in dogs can be caused by illness (especially if the dog has a fever), exposure to extreme heat, and a number of other factors. A dog’s natural act of panting causes a loss of fluids and can result in dehydration if they are not replaced. Remember that dogs lack sweat glands to keep them cool. They pant in an effort to regulate their body temperature. A panting dog is a hot dog.
Preventing Dog Dehydration:
- On hot, dry days keep dogs indoors as much as possible
- Provide a constant supply of fresh water for your dog
- Keep multiple bowls of water around the house and/or yard
- Make sure the water bowls can't be tipped over
- Consider using kiddie pools, sprinklers and running hoses to cool your dog when outside on hot days
- Make sure your dog has shaded areas to rest under when outdoors
Signs of a dehydrated dog:
- Lack of elasticity to the skin
- Dry and sunken eyes
- A dry mouth and nose
- A delay in capillary refill time. (To test for this, pull the dog's lip away from its gum (gently) and press a finger against the gum until the area whitens. Release your finger and the color should return to the area almost immediately. A delay could be an indication of dehydration)
As always, please consult your Vet if you have concerns with your dog’s health.