While senior dogs suffer with dehydration more regularly, dogs of all ages can experience this condition. Here’s a quick skin turgor test you can safely do at home to find out if your dog is dehydrated:
- Let your dog sit in a comfortable position.
- Use your thumb and forefinger to pinch a small piece of skin – either on their back or the top of their head.
If your dog’s skin easily springs back from your pinch, they are well hydrated.
If the skin moves back slowly, or does not fully return to its resting position, your dog is likely dehydrated.
A dehydrated dog will naturally be thirstier. A few other warning signs would be:
- Unusually low energy and fatigue
- A dry mouth (check the gums and tongue)
- Thick strings of saliva
- Nausea and vomiting
Dehydration happens in stages so if you’ve caught it early, it’s possible to treat a mild case at home. Start by giving your dog small amounts of water and carefully monitor their condition.
- For toys and small breeds – give 1 teaspoon of water every 10 minutes for a couple of hours.
- For mediums and larger breeds – give 1 to 2 tablespoons every 10 minutes for a couple of hours.
Be gentle with your pup and keep a close eye on them. If the fluids seem to be helping then there’s no need to worry. If there’s no improvement in a few hours, it’s time to call the vet. Severe dehydration can be fatal so it is important to act fast.
If your dog is not showing signs of dehydration but persists with unusual drinking habits, it may be an indication of an underlying illness.