As responsible dog owners, we understand that for our furry best friends to live a long and healthy life we must be aware of their nutritional needs, right? But how often do we think about their basic hydration needs? Statistics show that about 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration. Coincidently, more and more veterinarians are registering dogs suffering from dehydration just like their human family members. Unlike humans, however, dehydration in dogs can be a lot more complicated. Lets go over some tips on how to prevent dehydration, how to spot it, and what to do when it happens.
It is true that over 90% of your dog’s weight comes from water. Illness can befall your pet if he/she even looses close to 10% of that. Dogs loose an enormous amount of water while breathing, eliminating waste, and panting. Heavy panting can result from hot weather, hikes, running, walking, and traveling in a car, which is most often overlooked. Traveling in a vehicle can be a very stressful situation for most dogs as it is not a natural way of traveling. The confusion is enough to cause a great level of anxiety, often preventing your dog from accepting food and water. Best recommendation for prevention is to create a routine (dogs love routines) before you leave your home with your dog. Allot at least 5 minutes to calmly grab your dog’s leash and place it by your dog’s water bowl. Next, place a dry treat inside of the bowl. The dryness of the treat will trigger a response for your dog to follow it up with a drink of water. Once your dog is done drinking, praise him/her and then put on the leash and leave. After a week of doing this, you should cut down the size of the treat, and eventually, you’ll have your dog going to the bowl on its own, nice and hydrated, before leaving your home.
How will you know if your dog is dehydrated? Here is what to look out for:
• Dry nose
• Loss of skin elasticity, (easiest to check skin atop their shoulders)
• Sunken eyes
How to treat dehydration?
Once you spot that your dog is dehydrated take immediate action to get your dog to drink water. Once a dog is dehydrated, however it can get tricky. To achieve the best results, take any or all of the following steps.
• Stand over your dog’s body, cupping water and placing it on the front of the mouth. The liquid on the hair around the lips will automatically get your dog’s tongue moving and will trigger the swallowing reflex.
• Feed your dog ice cubes
• Add something to the water to make it more appealing. For instance, mix water into a bowl with dog food, add a hint of milk to the water, or apply a tasty mix of Pet Republic’s Sips Blueberry Blast to your dog’s water to greatly encouraging consumption.
Please remember to monitor the amount of water your dog drinks after he/she is already dehydrated. Drinking a large amount of water after a dry spell can create an adverse reaction counteracting the body’s ability to properly re-hydrate. Please consult your veterinarian right away if the condition worsens or fails to improve.