First Aid Response For Dehydration in Dogs

The hottest part of the summer is just around the corner. Dog owners should be aware of the risks for dehydration that the hot, dry weather brings. It's important that dog owners know how to identify, respond to, and--ideally--prevent dehydration to keep their pets healthy as the temperature rises. 


When dogs become dehydrated, they may show a variety of symptoms. Initially, they may pant excessively or make more noise than usual when breathing. They will likely become inactive and appear weak. Their tongue and gums may become dry or sticky. Also, their gums may begin to appear discolored.

As a dog becomes more severely dehydrated, his or her eyes will typically take on a sunken appearance. Dogs may begin to urinate excessively at first, but as their body loses water, they will stop urinating or begin straining to urinate while no liquid comes out.

If you suspect that your dog is dehydrated, you should pay particular attention to the skin. A dehydrated dog's skin will lack elasticity. When you grab a tuft of fur and release it, the dog's skin will be slow to return to its normal position. 

What to do

  • Go to the vet- You should immediately take your dog to the vet if you suspect dehydration. It's important to realize how severe this condition can be. A dog can suffer organ failure and die quickly if dehydration is left untreated. 
  • Give the dog water- Obviously, you need to get your dog to consume water to treat dehydration. However, this might not be easy if the dog is in distress. Try feeding the dog ice cubes or gently administering water into the dog's cheek pouch with a syringe. 
  • Administer an electrolyte solution- A veterinarian will typically administer an electrolyte solution to rehydrate the dog as quickly as possible. While on the way to the vet, you might be able to do this yourself if you've included an electrolyte solution in your pet first aid kit. 


Dehydration is much easier to prevent than it is to treat. While strenuous exercise in hot weather may increase a pet's risk of dehydration, keeping water constantly available should prevent the condition. 

It's important to stay vigilant regarding your dog's health in hot weather. It's also important to be aware of factors that can increase a pet's risk of dehydration. Dogs who have recently been experiencing vomiting or diarrhea are more likely to become dehydrated because they've recently lost a lot of liquids.

Dogs are also more likely to experience dehydration if they have a fever or if they suffer from certain health problems like kidney disorders or cancer. 

For more information, contact Bijou Animal Hospital P.C. or a similar location.