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How to Check a Pet for Dehydration

AUTHOR: Robins Nest
Jun. 22, 2010

All pets including cats, dogs and horses are at risk for dehydration, especially in the warm months. Pets at higher risk include older or very young ones, pregnant, nursing or sick animals. Dogs may overdo it when exercising with you and physically drain themselves, leading to a problem. Keep an eye on the animals to prevent it. If you do suspect dehydration, then try these suggestions.

Look for visible signs. These symptoms include sunken eyes, exhaustion or dry mouth.

  • Step 2

    Visit the vet for a quick blood test to check for dehydration. Do this test especially if your pet was without water for a long period of time.

  • Step 3

    Test your dog or cat’s skin elasticity. Gently pull the skin near the middle of your pet’s back. If he is dehydrated, then the skin won’t have its usual elasticity. It will “tent”.

  • Step 4

    Give her some food and see if she’ll eat. Another symptom of dehydration is a loss of appetite.

  • Step 5

    Check the gums. Expose the gums and press them gently and briefly with your thumb. Blood is forced through the gum and should return to its normal color within 2 seconds. If it does not, then it could be a sign.

  • Tips and Warnings
    Double up on water before you leave for a long period by placing two bowls out. If your pet happens to knock one over, there is a replacement.
  • Always have your vet’s emergency number available. A good place to keep it is on the refrigerator.
  • Always seek a veterinarian if you believe your pet is dehydrated, especially if the symptoms are pronounced.
  • Make sure your pet has plenty of water at all times, especially during the warm months.
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