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Dehydration: A guide to spotting it in 5 simple ways

The heat wave continues in Amman! In an article from the Jordan Times last week, the Public Security Directorate (PSD) issued warnings about the heat and gave recommendations about keeping hydrated. Dehydration is a serious issue and is also something we need to watch out for in our pets.

Dogs lose water in many ways; through panting and breathing, waste, vomitting, and even evaporation through their paw pads. If they take in less water than they use, dogs will find it harder and harder to control their own body temperature.

Dogs that are dehydrated will also be low on essential minerals that are needed to control muscles and the nervous system.

Severe dehydration is life-threatening and requires immediate veterinary attention. It can cause organ failure and poor blood circulation.

Here are some of the signs of dehydration that you should watch out for:

  1. One of the earliest signs of dehydration in dogs is sunken or dry-looking eyes.

  2. Dehydration can cause a dog's mouth and nose to become dry and sticky. You may notice that your dog is panting excessively or has thick, stringy saliva.

  3. Dehydration can cause a dog's skin to lose elasticity. This means it takes longer for the skin to return to its normal position after being pinched or pulled. You can try the 'pinch test' by gently pinching the skin on your dog's neck or between their shoulder blades and seeing how quickly it returns to normal.

  4. Dehydration can cause a dog to become lethargic and weak. You may notice that your dog is less active than usual. They might also be a bit shaky when they stand or walk.

  5. Dehydration can also cause a dog to lose their appetite and urinate less frequently. You may notice that your dog is not interested in food or water, or that they are producing less urine than normal. When they do urinate, it might be a darker colour than normal.

Some Reasons for dehydration

  • Heatstroke

  • Persistant vomitting/diarrhea

  • Not getting enough water

  • Chronic illness

Prevention is the best treatment

It's important to take steps to prevent dehydration in the first place. Make sure your dog always has access to clean, fresh water, and offer water frequently, especially on hot days or when your dog is more active.

You can also change their kibble! Add wet food (packaged or home-made) or bone broth to their dry food to increase their overall liquid intake.

Make sure your pup is up to date on all their vaccinations and parasite prevention, and keep an eye on them to make sure they don't eat anything that could cause an obstruction or a lot of vomitting.

These small steps might not be enough in the summer heat. Stay alert to the signs of dehydration!

If you suspect that your dog is dehydrated, it's important to take action right away. Offer your dog small amounts of water often. If your dog's condition does not improve, or if they show signs of severe dehydration such as vomiting, diarrhea, or collapse, get your dog to the vet immediately.

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