Preventing and Treating Dehydration in Puppies

Puppies are active animals, abound with energy. To support this active lifestyle, they need countless volumes of water. When your puppy doesn’t get enough water, they can quickly become dehydrated. Left untreated, this can cause significant pain and discomfort, and even death. This article discusses how to diagnose, treat, and prevent puppy dehydration.  

Why do Puppies Become Dehydrated?

Puppies can become dehydrated by a range of factors. The biggest causes of puppy dehydration are exposure to heat and illness. Illnesses that cause diarrhoea, vomiting, and excessive urination can often lead to dehydration.

Puppy dehydration can sometimes be a sign of more serious issues such as kidney degeneration, kidney failure, and the ingestion of harmful substances. These factors can cause severe dehydration in puppies and if severe symptoms persist, should always be checked out by a qualified veterinarian.

puppy training summer
On those extremely hot days, have more options for your puppy. Old buckets of water does the trick.

How Can I Tell if my Puppy is Dehydrated?

If you’re concerned that your puppy may be dehydrated, here are a few symptoms to look for:

  • Lethargy and depleted energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sunken Eyes
  • Change in usual behaviour
  • Excessive panting
  • Inelasticity in the skin

What Should I Do if my Puppy is Dehydrated?

The most important thing is to ensure that your puppy always has access to a source of clean drinking water. If they are just thirsty, your puppy will drink on their own and will quickly recover.

If after drinking, your puppy still appears dehydrated, you can attempt to administer electrolytic solution to help them recover. Mix an electrolytic concentrate in their water at a rate of 1-2 ml per kilogram of body weight. Encourage your puppy to drink this solution. And monitor their progress.

If symptoms persist and your puppy is experiencing more severe dehydration, the best thing to do is take them to a veterinarian. It’s best to be safe and avoid the worsening of more serious illnesses.

puppy training summer
Water fountains are amazing for puppies, drinking and cooling off and a play if the puppy decides it would be fun

How Can I Prevent Puppy Dehydration?

Preventing dehydration caused by exposure to the sun and heat

It is extremely important to be aware of the weather, especially if your puppy spends a significant amount of time outdoors. During the summer, or on especially warm days, your puppy can become dehydrated very rapidly.

Your puppy will naturally look for cool water and shade. If this is unavailable, they will be unable to regulate their body temperature. On warm days it is especially important to ensure that your puppy has constant access to cool water and shade. Bring them inside if this is not possible. On days of extreme heat, bring your puppy inside and give them a cool place to rest.

Never leave your puppy unattended in a car. Heat becomes trapped inside the enclosed environment and can rapidly cause severe dehydration in puppies and young children.

puppy training summer
Salt water pools can be a fun way for cooling your puppy in the summertime

Preventing dehydration caused by illness

The first step to preventing illness related dehydration in puppies is monitoring your puppy’s overall health. It’s important to be aware of when your puppy is experiencing bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea. This way, you can quickly treat these illnesses by visiting a veterinarian.

It’s also important to have plenty of clean drinking water available for your puppy when they are sick. They will likely need to consume a lot more water to offset the large volumes of water they are expelling.

Remember you can always go to the vet, or ask over the phone to speak to the vet you see and ask for help or advice. To help your puppy is the most important thing we can do when they can’t help themselves.

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