3 Checks for Dehydration in Dogs

Copy Rebecca Blankenship
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Dog’s like us are sensitive to dehydration, their body weight is made up of over 90% of water. A decrease in just 10% of body fluids can cause the dog to become extremely ill. Dehydration occurs either because of a lack of water intake to replenish the fluid loss due to urinating and excessive drool, or because there is an increase in water loss due to illness or injury (excessive vomiting or diarrhea).

If you suspect your dog is suffering from the heat, but unsure if they are just overheated or dehydrated check for these.


    A dog that is dehydrated will lose elasticity in his skin. One way to test for skin elasticity is to grasp the loose skin over the dog’s shoulders, lift it up as far as it will stretch, and then release. If the skin does not snap back into place immediately, it is likely that the dog is dehydrated.


    A dehydrated dog will also have slow capillary refill time. A simple test is to examine the dog’s gums. Gently press a finger against the gums until the area becomes white and release. In a normal dog, the pinkish color should return to the area almost immediately. A delay in the refill time can be indicative of dehydration.


    While checking for capillary refill time, check also the general conditions of the gums. A healthy dog has wet, slippery, reflective gums. A dehydrated dog’s gums are dull and sticky.


 Other symptoms
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Sunken eyes

Always have fresh water down for your dog no matter the time of year, but be extra diligent during the summer that their bowl is full. It’s a good idea if your dog spends a lot of time outside to have a bucket of water outside too that you refill daily! Adding icecubes to their water will help cool them down, if your dog doesn’t like icecubes check out this frozen dog treat to help cool them off.




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