If you take your dogs out on long hikes with you, it's crucial you can identify the signs of dehydration in dogs. Dogs who overheat and become seriously dehydrated will die if you do not take quick and decisive action.
Here is what you need to know:
Canine dehydration is simply the point at which your dog has lost too many fluids and electrolytes. Dogs need chloride, sodium, and potassium electrolytes like humans to be healthy. When your dog becomes dehydrated, these electrolytes get out of balance. The electrolyte imbalance can be fatal to your dog by causing heart problems.
The Signs of Dehydration
The tell-tale signs of canine dehydration include the following:
- Excessive panting
- Walking in circles
- Sunken or dry eyes
- A dry mouth with thick saliva
In addition, a dehydrated dog will have very poor elasticity in their skin.
Testing for Dehydration in the Field
You can do a quick dehydration test in the field by pulling up the skin at the back of your pet's neck. If your dog is dehydrated, its skin will not snap back into place. Instead, the skin will slowly sink back down.
It's crucial to note the longer before the skin goes back to its original position, the more severely dehydrated your pet.
Steps to Take for Dehydration
If your dog fails the quick dehydration field test, you should offer it a small amount of water. Don't encourage your dog to drink a lot of water at first as this can lead to vomiting, and vomiting will make the dehydration problem worse.
Bring your dog to a shaded area if it is hot outside and the heat contributes to the problem. If you can, wet the dog's fur to help speed cooling. If you are near a stream or lake, submersing your pet is one of the fastest ways to cool them down.
If your dog cools and returns to acting like its old self, you can relax.
However, if you have a problem getting your dog cooled off or if your dog is acting unusually, then it is time to get them to a veterinarian hospital for emergency treatment.
Preventing Dehydration While in the Field
Finally, it's essential to mention there are many things you can do to prevent future dehydration events with your pet. For instance, you can hike on cooler days, offer your pet water at least every hour or every mile, and never force a dog to exercise more than it is readily willing to do.