Dehydration in Dogs
Signs to watch for in your dog
MetPet.com Staff Writer
Dehydration is caused when the body's fluid level drops
without being replenished. Dogs lose fluid through elimination, vomiting, breathing,
panting and evaporation through the feet and other body surfaces. Dogs replenish
fluid by drinking water or other liquids and by eating
A relatively small drop in body fluid (4-5%) can result in
visible signs of dehydration.
Here are some basic signs:
The skin loses elasticity as it loses moisture. This
can be somewhat misleading since younger and fatter dogs will have more elasticity than
older, thinner dogs. It is important to have an idea of what your dog's skin looks
and feels like on a normal basis.
Pinch a little skin between your thumb and
forefinger on your dog's back. When you release it, it should pop back into place
immediately. (You can try this on the back of your own hand as an example) As the
tissue under the skin loses moisture, the skin moves back more slowly. In extreme
cases, the skin doesn't pop back.
The eyes appear sunken and lack moisture.
The mouth appears dry. Pull up your dog's lip and
look at his gums. Place your index finger firmly against the gums so that they
appear white. Remove your finger and see how quickly the blood returns to the gums
(they will become pink in that area again). This is called capillary refill time.
If you do this when everything is normal, you will have a basis upon which to
compare. The gums of a normal dog refill immediately, the gums of a dehydrated
dog could take 3 seconds or so to return to their pink state.
If your dog shows visible symptoms of dehydration, he may
need a trip to the vet for immediate replenishment of fluids. In serious cases, your
veterinarian may administer fluids under the skin or directly into the blood stream.
Watering The Dog