Dehydration in Pets
Dehydration can be seriously dangerous for pets, and it can often happen by accident. Water is essential for your pet’s natural bodily function, and without it your pet may experience severe medical conditions. Dehydration can be potentially life-threatening, so try your best to keep your pet hydrated throughout the day. Some medical conditions may contribute to dehydration in pets, so talk to our Chandler vet about how you can protect your pet’s health.
Understanding the signs of dehydration is the first step to protecting your pet. The basic signs of dehydration in an animal are:
-dry or yellow gums
-loss of skin elasticity
Dehydration can occur due to vomiting, diarrhea, frequent urination, or even due to old age. Senior dogs may be less inclined to travel to their bowl for drinks of water throughout the day, or they may just forget to drink. Active dogs may require additional water to stay cool and comfortable. It can be challenging to make sure your pet gets enough water throughout the day, but there are some ways to help encourage a healthy water intake. Make sure you are cleaning and refilling your pet’s bowl daily. Bacteria can accumulate in the bowl over time, and dirty water can actually make your pet very sick. Having fresh water available throughout the day will give your pet the opportunity to drink when they feel it’s necessary.
Encourage Your Cat to Stay Hydrated
Cat fountains can be a great way to keep a cat hydrated. Refillable water bowls can keep your cat interested in drinking and it may help them stay hydrated throughout the day. These fountains will circulate water all day so your cat can drink as they please. Another way to keep your cat hydrated is to add some wet food into their diet. Wet food can help to keep your pet hydrated while also meeting their nutritional needs. Many cats also enjoy drinking water from the faucet, which can be a fun way to make sure they are getting enough water. Try to find interesting ways to get your cat to maintain their hydration. If your cat is still reluctant to drink, they may require a visit to our Chandler vet.
Keeping Your Dog Hydrated
Dogs can often become dehydrated due to overactivity, illness, or just a loss of fluids. Make sure you are providing them with fresh, cool water especially on hot days. Always bring water to dog parks or on long walks to help keep your dog at a healthy temperature. If your dog is showing visible signs of dehydration and they are reluctant to drink, they may have an underlying health issue. Some parasitic infections or chronic health conditions could be contributing to their dehydration. Dogs that lose 10-15% of their body’s fluids can be at risk for serious health issues and even death, so talk to our Chandler vet if your dog is dehydrated.
Severe dehydration can be treated by our Chandler vet. Putting your pet on an IV drip would be the most effective way to rehydrate them in a short period of time. Fluids can also be injected to help rehydrate your pet. Oral rehydration would only be effective if your pet is willing to drink, so it may not always be an option for every pet. Every animal is different, so our Chandler vet can recommend the appropriate treatment for your pet’s needs.
Some ways to help prevent dehydration in your pet would be to use parasitic prevention methods. Parasitic infections are one of the most common reasons for dehydration because they can linger in your pet’s system for months without causing symptoms. By the time it is noticeable that your pet has not been drinking, their condition may have progressed significantly. Severe dehydration related to parasitic infection can be seriously dangerous for your pet’s organ function, so vaccinate your pet as directed by our Chandler vet.
Manage Your Pet’s Activity
Your pet may not necessarily know their limits and could possibly overextend themselves. This could easily lead to dehydration or heatstroke. Provide a water break about every 20 minutes, and even more frequently if it is extremely hot out. Shade can also help to keep your pet at a comfortable temperature. If possible, add some ice cubes to their dish or make them some pet popsicles to help maintain hydration on hot days. Never let your pet drink from lakes or natural bodies of water because those areas can be contaminated with harmful bacteria. Lake water can contain life-threatening bacteria, so stick to fresh water from a bottle or tap for your pet. Pool water can also contain harsh chemicals that may cause vomiting or poisoning in pets, so don’t let your pet drink from any pools. Exercising your pet in the early morning or after sunset can also help to prevent dehydration because those hours are cooler for your pet. Keep activity light and time it to keep your pet comfortable throughout the day.
Replace Your Pet’s Electrolytes
It is so important that your dog replaces their electrolytes, especially after experiencing vomiting or diarrhea. One way to help replace their electrolytes is to get them electrolyte supplements. Flavorless pedialyte is safe for animal consumption, but talk to our Chandler vet before giving your pet any supplement. Chicken or beef broth can also help to refuel your pet after a mild case of dehydration. An IV drip is the best solution for more serious cases of dehydration in pets. If your pet is unwilling to drink or take supplements, you will need to bring them in for treatment. Older pets may benefit from a wet food diet to keep them hydrated on a daily basis.
To learn more about dehydration in pets and how to treat it, schedule a visit with our team! We can make appropriate recommendations based on the specific needs of your pet. Call our office to schedule a check-up for your pet.