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There is nothing like getting out in the sun for a bit of fun with your favorite four-legged friend. But if you are not properly prepared, what starts out as a bit of innocent fun can quickly turn to what can become a major health problem for your dog. One of the biggest risks for dogs who go out in the heat of summer is dehydration, which can lead to heat stroke and potentially death.
The good news is that dehydration in dogs is usually very simple to prevent as long as you take the time to make sure you are prepared for your time outdoors with your dog. At the same time, you need to know how to recognize the warning signs of dehydration and are prepared to take the necessary actions.
Dangers of Dehydration
Most dogs love to get out in the sun and play with their owners. This is a wonderful way for both of you to get your exercise. Unfortunately, while playing outside in the summer is a lot of fun, it can prove to be deadly if your dog becomes dehydrated. But being out in the sun is not the only reason your dog can become dehydrated, there is a variety of medical conditions, diseases, and other conditions that can also cause dehydration.
Keep Plenty of Cool Water on Hand
The best thing you can do is make sure your dog has access to a constant supply of cool clean water. Whether you are playing in the back yard, hiking down your favorite trail, or running along the beach, you can always provide your dog with water. All you need is a bottle of water and a clean bowl. However, you do need to know that the water you are giving your dog is safe, in other words, if you wouldn't drink it, why should your dog? As long as you do this, you should never have to worry about dehydration.
If the weather is extremely warm, you can freeze your dog's water bowl before filling it with water. This will help to keep the water cooler for longer and ensure your dog gets a nice cool drink of water. The cooler water will help to reduce your dog's core temperature, which will make him feel much better on super-hot days.
You should always keep a close eye on how often your dog drinks and how much he consumes. If you notice your dog suddenly stops drinking as much as he usually does, this could be an indication of a medical condition. Be sure to take your dog in to see his vet.
Dehydration Caused by Vomiting
If your dog becomes overheated, he may start to vomit, much in the same way as humans with heat stroke tend to do. Vomiting causes him to lose vital fluids at a very rapid rate, which in turn can lead to potentially deadly dehydration.
Start out by feeding your dog ice cubes instead of water. The reason for this is that if all you do is try to get your dog to drink water, it may induce vomiting that will only lead to further dehydration. The ice cubes allow him to get the water he needs and keep it down by slowly licking the ice cube. While it might take him longer to replace lost fluids, given time and a cool environment such as an air-conditioned home or car, he should make a full recovery.
Many vets now recommend keeping some frozen Pedialyte on hand for the warm summer days. While water is ideal for rehydration. Pedialyte contains a range of vital electrolytes that will replace those lost by your dog as dehydration sets in. Giving your dog a few frozen cubes of Pedialyte before you go out in the sun can help prevent dehydration and also help rehydrate your furry friend if he is already dehydrated.
Severe Vomiting or Diarrhea
If your dog is vomiting or has a severe case of diarrhea he can quickly become dehydrated. While you need to take your dog in to see his vet and find out what is causing him to vomit or have diarrhea, there are things you can do to prevent him from becoming dehydrated until you can get him in to see the vet.
There are several different electrolyte formulas just for dogs on the market today. By giving him these instead of water, you are replacing the electrolytes he is losing due the vomiting and diarrhea. In some instances, this may be enough to restore your dog back to his normal healthy state by preventing him from becoming dehydrated.
Take your dog in to see his vet as soon as possible. His first step will most likely be to start your dog on an IV solution of water and electrolytes depending on the severity of your dog's condition. This solution will help to restore the lost fluids and, at the same time, help your dog to make a full recovery.
Importance of Prevention
Dehydration can lead to a range of severe health conditions, such as a loss of skin elasticity and xerostomia. This condition causes the gums to lose their moisture and become dry and sticky. Your dog's saliva will become thick. If the dehydration becomes severe, his eyes may become sunken and it is possible he may collapse.
By keeping your dog properly hydrated, you reduce the short-term risks of dehydration such as vomiting, diarrhea, xerostomia, and possible death. Long-term risks of dehydration include organ damage, brain damage, and a range of illnesses. It also helps to keep your vet bills under control as you won’t be rushing into the animal emergency room for IV therapy, which can be very expensive.
The most important result of keeping your dog properly hydrated is keeping your dog healthier and happier. A side benefit of keeping your dog well-hydrated is that it might help remind you to remain better hydrated during the hot water.
Taking Simple Steps
As a pet owner, you are the one responsible for ensuring your dog remains properly hydrated at all times. Your dog needs constant access to a fresh supply of cool clean water. Without it, your dog can quickly become dehydrated, which can lead to a number of dangerous medical conditions and may even lead to death. If your dog shows signs of dehydration, you need to provide him with plenty of cool water, Pedialyte, or an electrolyte formula designed especially for dogs to help rehydrate him and restore him back to health with no lasting after effects.