What Are The Signs Of Dog Dehydration And How To Treat Them

Featured Image - Dog Dehydration

Among the dog nutrients–fat, protein, vitamins & minerals, carbohydrates–water is the most crucial of all. If a dog loses just 10% to 15% of water in its body, it can get very ill and die.

Dehydration is one of the most common risks present in places with scorching temperatures, it is vital that you learn every detail of this specific matter as it would be very beneficial for your dog if you know what to do whenever this type of emergency happens.

Hence, as you continue reading you would be able to know everything that there is to know when dealing with dehydrated pups.

What Is Canine Dehydration?

Dehydration in dogs happens when the dog’s body does not have enough fluids due to insufficient fluid intake.

Humans and dogs alike, rely on cool water to keep their bodies functioning properly. In fact, drinking fresh water keeps bodies healthy and facilitates body function, aids digestion, cushions internal organs, and regulates body temperature. This suggests that water plays a critical role in allowing the cells in your dog’s body to absorb nutrients.

Having that said, it is totally normal for your dog’s body to gain and lose water throughout the day, especially during hot weather. Oftentimes, dogs naturally lose water through their breathing, panting, defecating, urinating, and sweating (through their paws). But dogs compensate for this loss through eating and drinking.

A Canine Dehydration

When your dog’s body loses water and you fail to keep your dog hydrated, their blood flow and body fluid volume will be reduced which slows down the delivery of oxygen to your dog’s tissue and organs.

Additionally, severe dehydration in dogs would also result in loss of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride. These naturally occurring minerals have great importance in specific bodily functions such as regulating nerve function, facilitate muscle function, providing mobility of nutrients in the body, and balancing pH levels. In most severe cases of dehydration in dogs, dogs may develop kidney failure if immediate treatment is unavailable.

An Owner Giving His Dog Water

What Are The Symptoms Of Dehydration In Dogs?

As responsible dog owners, you should always check the entire well-being of your pup to prevent dehydration. Knowing the signs of dehydration would help you quickly respond and recognize potential serious medical conditions that require immediate emergency care.

Dehydration in dogs symptoms include:

  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Severe Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Dry nose
  • Panting
  • Sunken dog’s eyes

Happy Pet Owners

Apart from these symptoms that you might see in dogs suffering from dehydration, the easiest way to tell whether your dog is dehydrated is through your dog’s skin.

By holding a part and letting go of your dog’s skin near the shoulder blades you can tell whether your dog needs more fluid. A healthy dog is well hydrated if his skin bounces back immediately. On the other hand, the skin of the dehydrated dog would take time before falling back to place.

Another way of telling if he is well hydrated is by looking through your dog’s gums. If they feel sticky and dry, and have a longer capillary refill time, more likely than not, your dog is dehydrated. In that event, you can give your dog water. However, when your dog is severely dehydrated, it is advisable that you take your pup to the veterinarian immediately.

A Dog Drinking Ample Supply Of Water

What Causes Canine Dehydration?

Lack of water intake can cause severe dehydration which is more likely to occur if your dog consumes water less than what was lost from him or simply just because your dog does not have access to an ample supply of clean potable water.

Diarrhea, heat stroke, and persistent vomiting, and fever may also cause your dog to be severely dehydrated. Additionally, senior dogs, puppies, and nursing puppies are at great risk of developing dehydration. Sometimes, dogs’ dehydration is a symptom of a specific underlying cause of severe illness like kidney disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

Mild dehydration could also develop when a dog spends time outdoors and continuously lose fluids and is incapable of replacing the water a dog loses.

A Thirsty Dog

How To Treat Dehydration In Dogs?

If you think your dog is dehydrated, giving him water and beginning the rehydration process will do the trick. Dogs typically require at least one ounce of water for each pound of body weight. However, in some specific cases, you should not give your dog too much water as this may prompt him to vomit, causing even further dehydration.

You might want to give him electrolyte replacement fluid as lots of electrolytes are lost out from his body. If your dog suffers from continuous or severe bouts of severe vomiting and diarrhea, contact your primary care veterinarian immediately.[1]

If your dog’s symptoms continue, IV fluids become a choice. The vet will provide intravenous fluids over the course of 24 hours for the fluid replacement of your pup.

A Dog Consumes Fluid

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for a dog to recover from dehydration?

A dog that suffers from mild dehydration usually recovers quickly while a dog that is dehydrated severely would require a longer period before the water is replenished completely.

What can you give a dehydrated dog?

You can give your dehydrated dog small amounts of fluids every after few minutes. If symptoms are severe, giving intravenous fluids could be an option, depending on the attending veterinarian.

How do I rehydrate my dog that won’t drink?

You can rehydrate your dog that refuses to drink by adding flavor to the water, infusing water with what your dog eats, or place different water bowls everywhere.

If your dog still refuses to drink water, seeking professional help might give your dog a chance. Usually, vets offer emergency care, so you do not have to worry whether your dog will be taken care of, regardless of the vet’s regular hours.


You cannot always prevent your dog from getting sick despite the nutritious food you feed to him. Inevitably, your dog may catch simple colds or dry nose or he could be at risk to so major issues regarding your dog’s health.

While this does not constitute medical advice, you should know that you must seek professional care for your dog that is experiencing severe symptoms.