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How to determine if your dog is dehydrated

If your dog is sick, has been suffering from vomiting and/or diarrhoea, or is not eating or drinking properly, there is a risk of dehydration. Here's how to tell if your dog is dehydrated and what you can do about it.

Who is affected?

Puppies and smaller dogs are particularly susceptible to dehydration. A normal amount of water for a dog to drink per day is 20-70ml per kilo of body weight. If your dog is ill, has had diarrhoea and/or vomiting for a long time, it may be time to check for dehydration.

Look for signs of dehydration

There are a few ways to check if your dog is suffering from dehydration. First, you can start by grabbing your dog's neck skin and lifting it upwards. If a dog is not dehydrated, the skin will fall right back into place after you let go of the neck skin. However, if it takes longer for the skin to fall back, this may be a sign of dehydration.

You can also look at the mucous membrane in your dog's mouth. Lift the lip and look at the colour of the mucous membrane, which should be moist and pink. Press your finger against the mucous membrane for a few seconds. When you release your finger, the colour should return to pink within 1-2 seconds. If the colour slowly returns to pink after you release your finger, it may be a sign of dehydration. The same applies if the mucous membrane feels dry and sticky. 

What should I do?

It is important to give your dog water and salt when you suspect dehydration. You can read more about how to make a fluid replacement for your dog here. If your dog won't drink either plain water or liquid replacement, it's time to contact your vet for advice.

When should I see a vet?

If you are concerned that your dog is dehydrated, we recommend that you contact a vet. As an insurance customer with us at Lassie, you have unlimited video calls to digital vet. You can call and consult a vet about how best to care for your dog.

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