Pet Dehydration

So how can you tell if your pet is dehydrated? Our friends at the AKC have shared this information below about pet dehydration.  For additional details, go to: http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/warning-signs-dehydration-dogs/

Knowing the symptoms of dehydration in humans is something we take for granted when diagnosing ourselves, but most owners do not know the signs of dehydration in dogs.

This is unfortunate, since knowing the signs of dehydration can help you catch a serious medical condition before it gets out of control.

Here are some of the common symptoms to get you started:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduced energy levels and/or lethargy
  • Panting
  • Sunken, dry-looking eyes
  • Dry nose and gums
  • Loss of skin elasticity

Some of these are obvious to the naked eye, but others, like skin elasticity, require a simple test.

To test for dehydration in dogs, gently pinch their skin between your thumb and forefinger. In well-hydrated dogs, the skin will spring back to its original position. The skin of dehydrated dogs, on the other hand, will take longer to fall back into place.

It is a good idea to test your dog's skin when you are sure your dog is well hydrated, so that you have a base for what normal skin elasticity for your dog feels like. This is especially important for owners of wrinkly breeds, such as Bulldogs or Neapolitan Mastiffs, because their wrinkly skin might be misleading.

You can also test your dog's gums for dehydration. Dogs' gums are normally nice and moist, and in some cases, positively slimy. Dry, tacky-feeling gums, on the other hand, are a symptom of dehydration. If you've ever experienced a dry mouth as a side effect of a medication, then you have an idea of what this feels like.

As you are feeling your dog's gums, you can also test for capillary refill time. Press your finger gently against your dog's gums, and then remove your finger. In hydrated dogs, the area where you pressed will appear white for a second, and then return to its normal pink color almost immediately. In dehydrated dogs, the capillary refill time takes much longer.