Dehydration in Dogs: It’s not always about thirst

This is general information only gathered from various resources and is not intended as veterinary advice.  Please consult a veterinarian if you have concerns about the health of your dog. 

A dog that is dehydrated is not always thirsty, and providing lots of water may not be enough to prevent dehydration. Dogs that are more susceptible to dehydration include puppies, very small dogs, chronically ill dogs, and old dogs.

How to test a dog for dehydration using skin pinch test. (suggesting that the back skin is better for the test than the neck skin). As well, you can lift your dogs lips back and check the gums and lips. They should be very moist, not tacky.

Dehydration means that the body has less blood (cells get less oxygen) and the fluids that travel through the body along with the blood (affecting the removal of waste products from cells).

Dehydration affects the balance of electrolytes in the body which can affect any system/organ in the body.  In some cases the symptoms of dehydration may not be obvious but your dog’s blood test will reveal if your dog is dehydrated.

Dehydration happens when the body doesn’t consume enough fluids (in food and water) and/or loses large amounts of fluid (e.g. excessive drooling, excessive panting, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive urination which may be related to other conditions, excessive blood loss from an injury).

Some causes of dehydration may not seem obvious, such as inflammation in the body (including inflammation in the digestive tract such as constipation, gas, blood or mucus in stools, infections, parasites, obstructions).

Dr. Karen Becker’s discussion about causes/symptoms of dehydration (not necessarily thirsty) 

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