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July 12, 2022

PetSafe® Expert

Hank Champion

Is Your Pet Dehydrated? Try These Simple Tests

How to tell if your dog or cat is dehydrated

We all know daily hydration is essential for us, but did you know it’s crucial for your pet too? Along with helping to prevent urinary and kidney disease, proper hydration plays a role in virtually every body function of your pet. 

How do pets get dehydrated?

There are many ways for dogs and cats to get dehydrated. These can range from not drinking enough water and too much time in the heat to conditions that cause vomiting and diarrhea or underlying illnesses like kidney disease and diabetes.

The signs of dehydration

Symptoms for pets can vary depending on the severity of dehydration. The signs of dehydration in dogs and dehydration in cats may include:

  • Appetite loss
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Dry Mouth
  • Excessive panting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Dry, tacky gums
  • Respiratory trouble
  • Seizure or collapse
  • Sunken eyes

How to test for dehydration

Fortunately, there are simple tests that are easy to do yourself, and we’ve provided a video demonstration by veterinarian Dr. Allison Smith. The test she conducts are:

The Skin Turgor test, also called the skin dehydration test, is demonstrated in the video and can work for dogs and cats. Just lift the skin from your pet’s shoulder blades and release it.

If your dog or cat is hydrated, the skin will return to its normal position quickly. If your dog or cat is dehydrated, you’ll get a tenting skin reaction where it stays up and doesn’t snap back.

Another dehydration test for dogs and cats is to look at their mouth and gums. When you lift the lip of your dog or cat, you want to see that their mouth is pink and moist. If you touch the gums and they feel tacky, or your finger sticks so that you have to peel it off, it can be a sign of dehydration.

If you notice these signs with your pet, you should contact your vet to confirm your test. And while this may be obvious, the best way to keep your pet hydrated is to make sure they have access to plenty of fresh, clean drinking water.

How much water does your pet need?

Here’s a good rule to help quench thirst in dogs and cats and for healthy hydration; it’s called the 1:1 Ratio. Pets need 1 ounce of water per 1 pound of body weight daily to be properly hydrated.

How to encourage pets to drink more water

A pet fountain is an excellent way to encourage pets to stay hydrated. Cats and dogs are naturally attracted to moving water, so pet fountains help with the crucial 1-to-1 Ratio by enticing them to drink more with clean, flowing, filtered water that tastes better. You can find a variety of fountains for dogs and cats made from various durable materials here to ensure that your pets stay healthy and hydrated so that you all have a safe and happy summer.

Written by

Hank Champion

Hank Champion

PetSafe® Brand Copywriter

PetSafe® Expert

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