Is your dog dehydrated?

Happy Friday Everyone,

My dogs Roxie and Gypsy are always a source of joy and entertainment for me, but today Roxie gave me a lesson in doggie behavior and shattered an illusion at the same time. Several times I have found bird feathers in a small pile in our back yard, and I’ve always thought a cat was doing the deed at night. But today, I watched Roxie catch a small bird that was struggling to fly, kill it, and then eat it, stopping only to spit out the feathers! What really surprised me was Gypsy left her alone and didn’t try to take the bird away from her, but merely sniffed the area after Roxie was finished. Rick has since nicknamed Roxie “BK” for bird-killer.

I’d like to share some home health care tips for dogs from Dr. Andrew Jones regarding dehydration:

Tests for Dehydration

  • Skin – The first test for dehydration is ‘tenting’ the skin. Pinch the skin between your dog’s shoulder blades and see how quickly it springs back. It should go back in less than 5 seconds. If the skin tent is prolonged, then your dog is dehydrated.
  • Eyes – Your dog’s eyes will be sunken into her head, specifically, the eyes recede into the eye socket.
  • Gums (Capillary Refill) – Your dog’s gums are the best indicator of deydration. Lift your dog’s lips to expose the gums (pink tissue above the teeth). Place your index finger on the gums and press your finger flat to the gum. This temporarily squeezes blood in that spot out of the small blood vessels (capillaries). When you lift your finger, the blood should return in less than 2 seconds. This response will be delayed in a dehydrated dog.
  • Gum moisture – The gums often feel dry and tacky in a dehydrated dog. When you pull your index finger away from the gums, it should feel wet, and easily slide away. In a dehydrated dog, your finger will stick to the gums.

Possible solutions

  • Ice – Some dogs will readily lick ice cubes when they are dehydrated, even if they are reluctant to drink water. Float the ice in their water bowl.
  • Electrolytes – Dogs that are more severely dehydrated will benefit from additional electrolytes. ‘Pedialyte’ is an oral electrolyte re-hydration supplement for children. A needle-less syringe or a turkey baster works well. Insert the tip into the center of your dog’s mouth. Tilt his head back, hold his mouth closed and squirt in the fluid.

    A safe rule of thumb is to give 30 ml (2 tablespoons) per 10 pounds of weight every hour.

Enjoy your weekend and please give your dogs a hug for me,


Jun 12, 2009 | 1 | Dog Behavior, Holistic, Home Health Care for Dogs

One Response to “Is your dog dehydrated?”

  1. Caring for a Sick Animal at home | The Mutt Room - Whole Dog Living Says:

    […] June 12th post has Dr. Jones’ signs and solutions for […]

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