How To Know If Your Dog Is Dehydrated

There are a lot of articles out there on how to tell if your dog is overheated and how to cool them off. But what about keeping your dog hydrated? You can tell your child to drink water or a sports drink when they start looking like they need some electrolytes, but you can’t tell your dog to drink.

Is My Dog Hydrated?

Dr. Cathy Alinovi, DVM  has a couple of tips so dog owners can tell if their dog is getting enough water:

  • Lift up the skin on the back of the neck – it should instantly go back down, just like the skin on the back of your hand. Touch the gums in the mouth – they should be moist, not tacky/sticky. Tacky gums mean thirsty.
  • If you believe your dog needs water, you can lead her to the water dish…but you can’t make her drink.

What To Do If Your Dog Needs Water

If you suspect your dog needs water but won’t drink, there are several other ways to get them hydrated.

Stever Peletier, Founder and CEO of SlimDoggy has some helpful tips to ensure proper hydration “above and beyond the water dish.”

  • Increase the fat content and lower the protein content of the dog’s diet during the hotter months.
  • Use summer fruits as treats. Examples include watermelon and berries which have a high water content.
  • Use vegetables as treats. Apples, carrots, etc. all have a fairly high water content and are good alternatives to packaged treats during the hot summer months.
  • Keep the water bowl full with fresh water. Even if there is water in the bowl, make sure to change it twice daily.

Dr. Alinovi has a few more tips to add liquid to your dog’s diet:

  • Add water to the food.
  • Make homemade broth and put a bowl of that out.
  • Feed homemade “real” foods so they have more natural liquid in them (dry foods are, well, dry).
  • There are electrolyte blends for dogs to go in the water. Be sure to get one that is made for dogs – some of the human electrolyte mixes might have dangerous sweeteners like xylitol and saccharin.
The Pet Cool Carrier not only keeps your dog cool, put provides fresh water.
The Pet Cool Carrier not only keeps your dog cool, put provides fresh water.

More Tricks

Aside from the above tips from the experts, there are a few ways to “trick” your dog into drinking.

  • Ice cubes, most dogs LOVE them.
  • Sprinkler or hose – some dogs like to play and bite at the water. They won’t get a lot in their system, but they will get some.
  • Put water in a plastic water bottle with the lid partly open. Once your dog figures out how the get the water out, the game will be fun and they be more likely to drink it then water that is just sitting there for the taking.
  • Pet Cooler Carrier – this cool product not only keeps your pet cool (up to 20° cooler), but as the ice melts, it supplies the dog with ice cold drinking water from a self-sealing water valve. If you have a picky dog, they may prefer this constant supply of fresh cold water, versus a warm bowl.

About the Author

Based in Tustin, Calif., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She also owns her own custom pet products company, A Fairytail House, where she makes personalized collars, leashes, beds, keepsake pillows and blankets, and anything else your imagine can think up. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She smartly married a Veterinary Technician, who helps keep the fur kids happy and healthy, and provides a quick resource for articles.

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