If there is one thing you want to look out for in your pets this summer, it’s dehydration – especially with how hot our summers get. None of us like feeling dehydrated, so it stands to reason that we wouldn’t want our pets dehydrated either. Dehydration is more than simply loss of water in our pets. It’s also a loss of electrolytes like sodium, potassium and chloride, which are important for normal body function. Over a period of time, dehydration can lead to other health issues.
This problem can come about from more than just not drinking water. Look out for these problems in the summer (or any time of the year) that can cause dehydration: persistent vomiting, diarrhea, illness, fever, and heat stroke. If your pet is refusing water due to illnesses like these, then dehydration is imminent and getting them to your vet is incredibly important.
If you suspect that your pet is dehydrated due to being lethargic and refusing water or liquids of any sort, then check the most common dehydration symptom – elasticity of the skin. Pinch the skin of your pet right above the shoulder blades. If your pet is hydrated well, the skin should snap back into place smoothly and easily. If your pet is not hydrated, the skin will either very slowly go back down, or not go back down at all – causing a tent. Pets with dry, tacky gums, listlessness, and lack of appetite can also be suffering from dehydration.
Make sure that if you notice these problems in your pet that you get them to the vet (immediately!) to ensure that they get the help they need. Dehydration is very serious and should be handled by a professional.
To help keep your pet from getting dehydrated, make sure you have clean, cool water for them to drink at all times (if they are ill, consider using some sort of flavor boost in their water to encourage drinking). Be sure you keep a close eye on your pet if s/he is ill, and keep their symptoms checked to ensure that you know immediately if something is wrong.