How Do You Tell If Your Dog Is Dehydrated?

Summers almost here and it’s already hot!  Is your dog at risk of dehydration?

There’s a few different ways to check your dog for hydration:

1) Check your dog’s ‘capillary refill time’ (CRT)?

What is Capillary refill time?  It’s the time it takes for the color to return after pressure is applied.  And it’s an excellent way to test if your dog is properly hydrated.  Plus if your dog has pink or light colored gums it’s very easy to do.  Unfortunately dogs with dark or black gums are harder to test.

How Do You Tell If Your Dog Is Dehydrated?

Check Capillary Refill Time (CRT)

How do I check my dog’s CRT?

To check, lift up your dog’s lip.  Then use your finger to push on the gums above their teeth.  Now quickly pull your finger away.  See where your finger was pushing against their gum?  You should briefly see a white circle.  Their gum should go back to original color within 1.5-2 seconds.  But if the white circle is slow to go away or their gum takes any length of time to resume normal color, your dog could be dehydrated.  And that’s called ‘checking their capillary refill‘.

2) Twist your dog’s scruff

Another quick way to check for dehydration.  First take your dog’s collar off.  Then grab the skin on the back of their neck.  Gently pull and twist.  If their skin bounces back quickly, they’re hydrated.  If, however, the skin is slow to bounce back, or doesn’t bounce back at all, they’re dehydrated.

How Do You Tell If Your Dog Is Dehydrated?

Twist scruff

3) Watch your dog for strange behavior

Look for signs of possible dehydration.  They may seem restless, anxious or they may lick their lips a lot.  So check their water bowl.  If it’s empty, fill it right away.  If, however, it’s not empty but the water is old, warm, dirty or stale, wash the bowl and fill it with clean, fresh water.

4) Has your dog had the runs?

To put it bluntly, diarrhea is dehydrating.  It doesn’t have to be a hot day for your dog to be at risk of dehydration if they’ve had the runs.  So check them for hydration.  If they’re dehydrated at all from diarrheacontact your veterinarian.

How Do You Tell If Your Dog Is Dehydrated?

Diarrhea can dehydrate your dog

Drinking water vs hydration

Did you know that with dogs there’s a difference between drinking water and hydrating?  Huh!  Anyway for more on this read this blog post: How much water should dogs drink?

{QUESTION} Have you ever come across an overheated dog on a hot day?  If so please share your story with us!

Written by Brenda McBurnie, Certified Dog Trainer, Natural Nutrition

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