If your dog isn’t drinking as much water as she used to, it may not always be a cause for concern.  Our dog Winnie doesn’t drink as much as she should because she has a hard time finding the water bowl. So we compensate by soaking her kibble to make it soupy.  Most likely though, your pet is drinking enough to stay hydrated.

Keeping hydrated is important if your dog is suffering through bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, overheating or chronic illnesses such as diabetes, kidney disease, or cancer.  This means they’re likely loosing electrolytes as well which is important to maintain proper sodium, potassium and chloride levels.

If you want to check and see if your pet is hydrated here are a couple tips you can follow.

Observe their habits

Dehydrated pets will look more tired than normal. They will urinate less and their urine may have a stronger smell.  They may also refuse to eat, and not be interested in playing or have trouble walking.  Knowing your pet and its habits can help you identify altered behaviors that can indicate whether they’re feeling under the weather.

Skin on the back of the neck

Pull the skin up on the back of the neck near the skull and let go.  If the skin sinks back down fairly quickly, you’re good to go.  If the skin sinks slowly your dog is on the verge of being dehydrated.  Should the skin not go down at all, you need to seek veterinary care and let them know if there have been any symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting.  Smaller dogs, and cats, can get dehydrated quicker than larger dogs.

 The Eyes

Sunken eyes are a sign of dehydration due to the shrinkage of tissue.  Just like us, your pet’s body is made up of mostly water.  Dehydration can cause the pad around the eye to shrink and it can decrease the water content of the eyeball itself, thus looking sunken in.

The Gums

Touching your pet’s gums can be a good way to tell if they’re dehydrated as well.  Lift up their upper lip and touch it firmly with your finger.  The gum will turn white and should turn back to pink fairly quickly.  If it stays white for some time, they are likely dehydrated.  Their gums should also be glossy and feel wet to the touch. Feeling sticky or looking dull is a sign of dehydration as well.

Please don’t attempt home remedies when time is against you.  If you think your pet is seriously ill or showing any signs of dehydration you should contact your veterinarian immediately as this is a potentially life threatening issue.