Dog Dehydration Treatment

dog dehydration treatment

Dehydration occurs when water and electrolytes are lost through breathing, urination and sweating at an exceeding rate compared to fluid intake; when this exceeds loss in totality dehydration occurs.

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Mild dehydration should be addressed using water or Pedialyte-type fluid rehydration solutions to restore fluid levels back up again as quickly as possible. Severe dehydration requires immediate medical attention from a veterinarian; mild dehydration can be treated more simply with either solution.


Subcutaneous Fluids

Dehydrated dogs must receive fluids either subcutaneously (under the skin) or intravenously (through a catheter in their veins). Both methods work and are widely utilized.

Your vet will instruct you as to the amount to give your pet. In general, one-quarter cup of Pedialyte or an electrolyte solution should be given every hour for large dogs and one eighth for smaller ones.

Before administering any fluids to your dog, conduct an elasticity test by lifting and releasing a piece of skin over his shoulder. If the skin snaps back quickly after lifting and release, that indicates adequate hydration; otherwise it could indicate moderate to severe dehydration affecting both its blood supply and vital organs (heart/brain). A dehydrated dog will consume less water and urinate less often as the body uses resources from elsewhere to focus on essential areas like heart/brain health.

Intravenous Fluids

If your dog’s gums become dry or tacky and you notice other moderate symptoms such as lethargy, decreased or increased urination, vomiting or diarrhea they could be entering severe dehydration. When this happens it is essential that water or an electrolyte solution such as unflavored Pedialyte be given in small doses every hour as too much fluid too quickly may cause them to vomit and further reduce fluid loss.

Veterinarians will assess how much fluid has been lost by your dog and prescribe an appropriate therapy plan, including either subcutaneous or intravenous fluid therapy depending on its severity and the underlying condition responsible for dehydration.

At any stage of severe dehydration, veterinarian care should be sought immediately. A vet will administer subcutaneous or intravenous fluids to rehydrate their pet, treat any underlying causes that led to dehydration, and look out for any complications due to it.


Water is essential for proper body functions in dogs. Unfortunately, like humans, dogs can lose more fluids than they take in and become dehydrated, impacting internal organs, temperature regulation, joints and digestion – our emergency vets explain that dehydration poses a serious health threat for your pup.

One way to assess whether or not your dog is dehydrated is through skin elasticity testing. Gently pinch loose skin on their neck and shoulder area before releasing, waiting two seconds and seeing if the pinched area snaps back into place as expected – otherwise they could be experiencing low moisture levels or slow capillary refill time which indicates dehydration.

Mild dehydration in dogs can typically be treated by providing them with access to fresh, clean drinking water and encouraging them to drink it. Your veterinarian may also employ subcutaneous or intravenous fluid therapy treatments in order to rehydrate them and address their source. They’ll calculate how much fluid has been lost by your pup and prescribe an appropriate amount of therapy in order to restore internal fluid balance and restore their internal fluid balance.


Examine your dog’s behavior and appearance to assess their hydration status. A dog that is properly hydrated will have pink tongue and moist gums. Conversely, dry mouth with sticky gums may indicate moderate dehydration.

Skin elasticity is also an indicator of your pet’s hydration status. Gently pinch between their shoulder blades and release, then release; if it doesn’t return into place within several seconds, they could be moderately dehydrated.

if a dog is panting excessively, they could be in an advanced stage of dehydration and should be taken immediately to their vet. Dogs in this stage often have sunken eyes and it can be hard to wake them from sleep or get them to drink water. In severe stages of dehydration, your pup could exhibit slow response times and tachycardia (a rapid heart rate); fluid loss could cause poor perfusion which results in hypovolemic shock.