6 Signs of Dehydration in Dogs


Did you know dogs can become dehydrated, just like humans can? Dogs are prone to dehydration under certain circumstances, and as a responsible pet owner, it’s important for you to learn how to tell when your dog may be dealing with this issue.

signs of dehydration in dogs

Most Common Signs to Look Out For

In the article, you’ll find information about some of the most common signs of dehydration in dogs. You can learn more about these symptoms, how to recognize them, and figure out which symptoms may require an immediate trip to the emergency vet. Read through the information below to find out more.

Listed below are the 6 most common signs to look out for if your dog is dehydrated: 

1. Panting without Drooling

Some dogs who are dehydrated may pant excessively. Typically, when a dog is dehydrated, this panting will not be accompanied with drooling. If your dog does drool while they are feeling this way, the drool will be thicker than normal. Panting with no other symptoms on this list may simply indicate that your dog is trying to keep cool on a hot day. However, when coupled with other signs, it is often associated with dehydration and may be one of the earliest symptoms to appear.

2. Sticky Gums and Saliva

Dehydration causes a dog’s gums and saliva to become sticky. When you touch your dog’s gums, they should normally be slick. However, when your dog is dehydrated, her gums may become tacky to the touch instead. This symptom may be difficult for some pet owners to notice, but it is a good early warning sign of dehydration.

There are very few other causes of this symptom other than dehydration. If your pet is experiencing thick drool, sticky saliva, or tacky gums, they could be dehydrated and may need medical assistance.

3. Lethargy and Weakness

Lethargy and weakness are often seen in dehydration, from moderate to severe. Of course, if your dog is weak and severely dehydrated, she needs to see an emergency vet right away. If she is lethargic and mildly dehydrated, you may be able to help her recover at home—but a call to your regular vet is a good idea, regardless.

Lethargy and weakness may also occur with almost every other canine health problem and condition. Therefore, having a veterinary professional evaluate your dog is a good idea to help determine the cause for your pet’s symptoms.

4. Rapid Heartbeat

The longer your pet stays dehydrated, the more rapid her heartbeat will become. If you’ve ever had a high fever, you’ve probably experienced this feeling yourself, and it’s very similar for a dog. This condition quickly leads to a rapid heartbeat, which can be dangerous if left untreated for too long.

If your dog’s heartbeat is rapid with other signs of dehydration, take her to the emergency vet. If her heartbeat is rapid and you don’t notice any other symptoms from this list, the problem may be something else. A bite or sting from an insect or snake may potentially cause rapid heartbeat and go unnoticed, for example

5. Sunken Eyes

One of the most common signs of dehydration in dogs is the appearance of sunken eyes. If your dog’s eyes look like they are set too far back in her head, or if they look dark and dull, this likely means she is dealing with some level of dehydration. The worse the dehydration, the more sunken her eyes will look.

Dogs who have chronic health problems may also have this symptom. However, it is almost always associated with dehydration. Check your dog for other symptoms listed here and head to the vet or emergency vet if you notice sunken eyes.

6. Loss of Elasticity of Skin

Finally, one of the best ways to tell if your dog is dehydrated or not is to check her skin elasticity. Skin elasticity refers to the skin’s ability to “bounce” back where it’s supposed to be. You can check this symptom on your dog by pulling up the loose skin at the back of her neck. If it snaps back into place right away, she is likely not dehydrated. If it takes a while for your dog’s skin to skin back into place, however, she is probably dehydrated. Dogs with a loss of elasticity of the skin need to see a vet.

Contact a Veterinarian if Your Dog is Dehydrated

Now that you’ve had a chance to read through this list, you may have a better idea of what to expect if your dog is dehydrated. You might also know how to recognize symptoms of dehydration, and you should be ready to get your pet medical attention if needed, too. By learning how to tell if your dog is dehydrated, you can provide prompt care when something goes wrong.

If your dog shows signs of moderate to severe dehydration, take her to the emergency vet right away. Otherwise, contact your regular vet for information and recommendations specific to your dog’s individual health history and needs. For any additional questions about dog dehydration, contact Orlando Vets by calling any of our locations. Our team of talented and compassionate veterinarians are dedicated to providing your pet with the best care.

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