National Pet Hydration Month: Common Signs of Dehydration in Cats and Dogs

July is officially National Pet Hydration Month! And as summer continues to unfold, it is the perfect time to review the common signs associated with dehydration in both dogs and cats.

As you know, pets can’t speak up for themselves. Though they do their best to communicate with us (some more than others), it’s tough to know when they are properly hydrated. Dehydration is just as common in pets as it is their humans during the summer months, and can be deadly for them, too.

Learn About Dehydration During National Pet Hydration Month

As you spend more time outside and soak up the sun, it’s vital to stay vigilant about ensuring your furry friend stays hydrated and happy. Let’s take a look at common symptoms of dehydration so you’ll know what to pay attention to.

Don’t want to read? Scroll down to view our handy infographic!

Sunken Eyes and Skin Elasticity Loss

Sunken eyes are pretty easy to spot. To check skin elasticity, pinch some skin between the animals shoulders. If well hydrated, the pet’s skin will snap back quickly into place.

Lack of Coordination, Lethargy and Confusion

If your pet is having a tough time with any kind of movement, seems out of sorts, or doesn’t move much at all, dehydration could be the culprit.

Appetite Loss, Dry Mouth and Dry Nose

Dogs and cats love to eat, so pay special attention when they ignore their food. Also note if their mouth or nose is uncommonly dry.

Red and Inflamed Gums

The gums of a well-hydrated pet will appear pink and have a speedy capillary refill time. Test this by gently pressing on your pet’s gums. The rate from white back to pink should be quick.

Excessive Panting and Respiratory Trouble

If your pet is panting and won’t stop in spite of rest or lack of movement, that is a dangerous sign. Also dangerous: if they are sneezing, coughing or show signs of labored breathing.

Vomiting (with or without Diarrhea)

If your pet spent a long day in the hot sun and begins to vomit, this is a big red flag for dehydration. Diarrhea makes dehydration worse, so pay close attention to that as well.

Seizure or Collapse

Perhaps the most frightening of all the symptoms, if you pet suddenly collapses or starts to seize after a hot day in the sun, it’s likely because of dehydration.

Tips to Prevent Dehydration in Your Pet

It may seem obvious, but water (and lots of it) is the key to keeping your pet well hydrated during the summer months. Here are some things to consider when planning your fun in the sun!

  • Always provide plentiful fresh water, and refresh it often.
  • Use a bowl with a weighted bottom to avoid spillage.
  • Monitor your pet’s water intake. Dogs should drink an ounce per pound daily, and cats require roughly 5-6 ounces daily.
  • Walk or exercise your pet early in the morning or later in the evening.
  • Allow plenty of rest between walks or exercise.
  • Offer water breaks when taking walks.
  • Take a water bowl with you wherever you go!
  • When outside in the heat, offer your pet water every 15 to 20 minutes.

Stay Alert for Symptoms During National Pet Hydration Month and Beyond

Dehydration is completely preventable. However, if your pet displays persistent symptoms it’s imperative you seek the help of a trusted Veterinarian right away. At College Road Animal Hospital, we have years of experience of caring for furry family members just like yours. You can rely on us to keep your pet well and happy for years to come. Visit our site to learn more about our services or to make an appointment!
National Pet Hydration Month Infographic about common signs of dehydration in cats and dogs