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We at Abbotsford Animal Hospital want to ensure that when you take your dogs with you on those hot summer days that you are aware of the health risks of dehydration. We want you to know how to detect dehydration and pointers on how to keep your favorite Fido well hydrated this summer.
Some of us take the phrase, “dog days of summer” quite literally— we want to go everywhere accompanied by our beloved dogs! While this can be great, know that the heat of summer has the potential to be hazardous to your dog’s health. One of the greatest summer dangers is dehydration. Dogs get hot faster than people, and it’s easy for even the healthiest of dogs to become dehydrated.
Significant forethought and planning to accommodate higher temperatures separate a fun summer day from a trip to the emergency veterinarian.
What exactly is dehydration in dogs?
Dehydration refers to a shortage of water within the body. Do you know that approximately 60% of your dog’s body mass is comprised of water? Not only is water a component of what flows within blood vessels (arteries and veins), water is also an essential component within cells and the tissues surrounding them. Given its ubiquitous nature, it’s easy to understand why having an adequate amount of water within the body is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure, circulation, and bodily functions.
Causes of dehydration in dogs
Dehydration results when too little water is consumed in relationship to the amount lost from the body. For example, a dog who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea and doesn't feel good enough to drink lots of water to make up for these fluid losses can readily become dehydrated. Kidney disease can cause dehydration because the damaged kidneys produce abundant urine regardless of how little water is consumed.
Summertime heat promotes dehydration, particularly when a dog isn’t interested in or doesn’t have access to lots of water. Think about the tennis ball obsessed dog who doesn’t like to interrupt a good game of fetch to gulp down some water. Whereas this may not be a problem in cooler temperatures, water loss associated with heavy summertime panting can quickly result in dehydration.
Detecting dehydration in dogs
Dehydration causes a variety of symptoms and dogs may demonstrate from one to all of them. Symptoms include:
Preventing dehydration in dogs
Here are some pointers to keep your favorite Fido well hydrated this summer:
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call us – we want to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Abbotsford Animal Hospital - Caring for Pets for People in York Region, Aurora, Newmarket, King City, Richmond Hill and the GTA.
Dr. Nancy Kay, DVM, DACVIM
IDEXX's Pet Health Network