If you are worried that you dog may be dehydrated, you can look for several clues in his behavior and body. It is important to watch for these symptoms, because dehydration can be a sign of a more serious condition.
When a dog loses fluids from vomiting or diarrhea, or if it is a hot day and he does not have an adequate supply of water, his body can become dehydrated in a very short time period.
Your dog’s behavior will often be an indicator of a problem. A dog that needs water will sometimes lick his lips, become restless and pace, or look anxious.
Many dogs will repeatedly walk to their water bowl so an alert owner should watch for any of these behaviors and fill the bowl!
You can also check your dog’s bodily symptoms. A classic test that is used by vets is to lift the scruff, which is the loose skin at the back of a dog’s neck. You can just grab the skin and lift it several inches off the dog’s neck and then let it go.
When you let it go, it should spring back easily. When the animal is dehydrated, it will take more than a few seconds to fall back to the dog’s shoulders. You can also look at in the dog’s mouth and observe the state of his gums.
If the dog is healthy, his gums will be shiny and moist. If his gums are dull and sticky, then he may be dehydrated. This action may not be possible if your dog is not comfortable with you touching his mouth area.
You can also observe your dog’s urine and how often is it necessary for your dog to urinate. Infrequent urination can indicate possible dehydration.
If the urine is dark yellow, or is turning the grass brown where he relieves himself then this means that it is concentrated and his body is trying to conserve fluids. This is another sign that his body is not getting enough water.
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, the first thing to do is to make sure that you are providing enough for his daily needs.
A good indicator is to provide a half to an ounce of water for each pound of body weight. If you dog has access to water, and is drinking and is still showing signs of dehydration, then you should have him checked by your vet.
Dehydration can be caused by several health reasons, such as diabetics and renal disease and only your vet can determine what is causing the problem.
Remember that untreated dehydration can lead to organ failure which is fatal, so watch your dog, and make sure to keep the water bowl filled!