Dehydration, common after bouts of diarrhea and/or vomiting, can be life threatening. Every organ in your dog's body needs water to perform vital functions. Without it, organs can fail and may become permanently damaged. for this reason, it's vital that you learn to recognize the signs of dehydration and take steps to both prevent it and treat it if it does occur. The following guide will teach you everything you need to know about dehydration and your dog. 

Symptoms of Dehydration

Simply put, dehydrated dogs do not have enough water in their system. Their gums may appear sticky and dry. Their skin may feel dry and appear as if it's just hanging there. If you suspect dehydration, press on your dog's gum. It should pink up immediately after you remove your finger. If it doesn't, your dog is likely dehydrated. Similarly, pull your dog's skin up into the air and let go of it. If it stays in place instead of springing back, your dog is dehydrated. 

At-Home Treatment for Dehydration

Dehydration is not always an emergent symptom. If your dog has stopped losing fluids through vomiting and diarrhea, you may be able to treat it at home. Before starting any at-home treatment, make sure your dog is not running a fever. If you dog has only recently stopped vomiting, give it ice cubes or frozen electrolytes. Work your way up to giving your dog a few tablespoons of electrolytes each hour. If your dog is only moderately dehydrated, treat the dog with Ringer's lactate. 

Symptoms Requiring Vet Care

If your dog has a fever or if it appears lethargic, get it to the vet. You should also seek veterinarian care if your dog has been sick for several days and at-home care is not working. Always consult a veterinarian for incessant vomiting and diarrhea. They may need some medications to prevent the loss of fluids before you can re-hydrate them. 

Preventing Dehydration in Your Dog

Prevent dehydration by treating your pet for dehydration at the first signs of illness. Also, give your dog plenty of fluids. If the temperature is high or if they are especially active, they will need more fluids than usual. 

Dehydration can kill your dog. If you suspect that your dog is dehydrated and they are not responding to at-home care, see your veterinarian or local animal medical care clinic right away. Waiting too long could result in irreversible damage to your pet's vital organs.