During the hot summer months, your pet probably spends more time outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Going on walks, playing fetch, and swimming might be a few of his favorite summertime activities! But with the increased heat and activity, our pets can dehydrate quickly. It’s important to be familiar with the common signs of dehydration in dogs and know what steps you can take to both prevent and treat pet hydration.

Understanding Dehydration

Dehydration can become a serious issue if not resolved quickly. It occurs when the body loses more fluid than it takes in. When this happens, the body responds by drawing fluid out of cells, resulting in a loss of electrolytes and an imbalance of essential electrolytes, which can disrupt the function of organs and other body systems. Serious cases of dehydration can lead to organ failure and even death.

The Importance of Electrolytes

Electrolytes serve an important role in the body. In fact, they are critical for the normal function of all cells in the body. Keeping electrolytes balanced within your pet’s body is important for maintaining the proper amount of water in the body. Electrolytes are also important for regulating nerve and muscle function, balancing blood acidity, and allowing important bodily processes to occur.

Tips for Keeping Your Pet Hydrated

1. Know the signs of dehydration:

Becoming familiar with the signs of dehydration is an important first step. If you’re able to recognize the signs of dehydration, then you can quickly take the appropriate steps to rehydrate your pet. Here are some signs of dehydration in dogs:

  • Loss of elasticity in the skin
  • Panting/fast breathing
  • Dark urine
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Dry gums
  • Loss of balance
  • Weak pulse
  • Collapse
  • Lethargy
  • Sunken eyes

2. Ensure your pet always has access to fresh water:

A dog’s body naturally loses water throughout the day. Dogs lose water when they pant, when they urinate/defecate, and by sweating through their paws. Replacing lost water is crucial for the health of your pet. Monitoring your pet’s water intake and allowing constant access to fresh water can help ensure he is staying hydrated. Keep in mind that dogs should drink at least 1 ounce of water daily for each pound he weighs.

3. Keep your pet inside on hot days:

Although staying inside isn’t as much as the adventurous outdoors, keeping your pet inside on hot days will help prevent overheating and dehydration. Exercising during the early mornings or evening hours when it’s cooler is always an option. Providing your pet with a kiddie pool on warmer days can also help keep him cool.

If you have a working or sporting dog who needs to be outside, encourage him to rest often and to take plenty of water breaks. You can help prevent dehydration by offering electrolytes twice a week to maintain a normal fluid balance in the body.

4. Treat signs of dehydration quickly:

If your pet is showing signs of dehydration, it’s important to take immediate action. Seek veterinary attention right away if your pet is having persistent episodes of vomiting and/or diarrhea, as intravenous fluids might be needed. 

Mild cases of dehydration can usually be successfully treated at home. The goal of treatment is to replace lost fluid and correct any electrolyte imbalance. Oral electrolyte solutions can help maintain normal body fluid levels during mild cases of dehydration.

Thomas Labs® HydrADE is an electrolyte supplement that can help encourage water consumption and support normal hydration during episodes of dehydration. It provides energy sources and contains the three essential components of a complete electrolyte solution: amino acids, dextrose, and electrolytes.

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor adventures and lots of fun activities! Don’t let dehydration slow your pet down. By taking a few proactive steps, you can help ensure your pet stays hydrated and healthy!