Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration in Puppies

By Tucker Cummings
Taking care of a new puppy presents many challenges, such as house training and discipline. One of the challenges you may not have thought about is keeping your puppy properly hydrated. Dehydration can quickly go from a discomfort to a serious problem. There are a few signs and symptoms to watch out for when your puppy is dehydrated.

Dehydration in Nursing Puppies

Before your puppies have been weaned, they will be getting the nutrients and liquids they need from their mother. But even on an all-liquid diet, your puppies may still need to consume more fluids, especially in hot climates. If your dog experiences any of the following symptoms, you should take them to your vet or get them on a milk supplement product right away. Symptoms to watch for in newborn puppies include low weight and neck skin that stays stiff when gently pinched. If the litter is abnormally large, keep a close eye on all the puppies.

Older Puppies

After your puppy is weaned, they will need to drink more water, as their food will no longer be in liquid form. In addition to the neck pinch test, there are other symptoms you can look for. Your puppy may be dehydrated if it is lethargic, has dry or sunken eyes or a dry mouth and nose. Dehydrated puppies may also have a delay in capillary fill time, meaning that if you press your index finger into the gumline of your puppy, it takes a few moments for the blood to refill the area. If your dog is severely hydrated, it is important to only let them drink a little water at a time, so they don't get sick. Some pet owners recommend Pedialyte or non-flavored water enhanced with electrolytes for severely dehydrated dogs.

Warning Signs

In addition to the signs and symptoms listed above, there are a few other things to watch out for. If your puppy has had loose stools, a high fever or vomiting, they will likely need to consume a lot of water to stay properly hydrated. Dehydration leads to loss of crucial minerals your puppy needs to stay healthy. If you live in a hot climate, make sure your dog has constant access to cool, clean water. Adding wet food to your dog's diet in the hottest months of the year will add valuable moisture into their diets.
Comments (4)
Jul 19, 2009 tealak
What about urinary tract infections??
May 18, 2010 sonubela
i've given my dog raw pig thigh for the last 2 years, he loves them, chews them to the end in little time and it keeps him from chewing my furniture! Hegoes out for 4km walks everynight and gets a bone once a week to once every 2 weeks. the only problem i have is that it makes his poop very hard. i counter-act this by giving slightly more of his normal kibble before and after the bone.
Jan 9, 2013 bob.franklin.50
Also watch unusual jerking head movements such as a repetitive movement to one side, indicating vertigo on the part of the puppy. This will be because the puppy is trying to catch up with the spinning room, as it were. Take a mouthful of water & DRIZZLE into his mouth, allowing him to lap at it. Puppy will likely resist at first, but keep at it.
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