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In the event that you think your pooch is suffering from dog dehydration, use this article as a guideline for diagnosing the signs and symptoms. Your veterinarian will provide insight on the matter as well.

In a dehydrated system, there is an abnormal reduction in the circulation of blood. There are many consequences in these cases. Many of the consequences are in relation to imbalanced levels of electrolytes, most of all in fluids. These electrolytes are natural chemicals that dissolve in water or melted, dissociate into particles called “ions”. These positively and negatively charged ions conduct electrical currents. Calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium are positive ions (“cations”) in a dog’s body fluids. The negative ions (“anions”) are phosphate, chloride, and bicarbonate. Due to the impact on metabolic activities and the overall functionality of the body’s cells, electrolyte levels need to be regulated with care.

In a dehydrated dog, the electrolytes in the body fluids become alarmingly imbalanced. This could affect any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, kidneys, and heart function, among many others.

Signs and Symptoms of Dog Dehydration

If you’re concerned your dog might be dehydrated, with two fingers, gently lift and press your dog’s skin and look for signs of skin tenting (the skin will appear stuck together for a prolonged period). Typical pliability in the skin depends largely on the hydration levels of the body. Dog obesity can affect the results of this small exam.

Notable signs of a dehydrated dog can include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Loose skin
  • Wrinkled skin
  • Prolonged capillary refill time
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Lethargy; listlessness
  • Sunken eyes
  • Weakness/Collapsing
  • Depression
  • Panting
  • Excessive salivation
  • Tacky and dry gums
  • Excessive urine production output
  • Weak pulse quality
  • Elevated heart rate

Dogs at Increased Risk for Dehydration

First of all, the smaller the dog, the higher the risk for dehydration. Small dogs have a high body surface, area to volume ratio and any decrease in water or food intake can cause dehydration. In addition, variables that affect the thirst of a dog also have the possibility to cause dehydration. Dogs with systematic diseases that cause diarrhea, appetite loss, excessive urine output, and vomiting are predisposed to dog dehydration as well.

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