Dehydration is excess loss of body fluids. Usually it involves
loss of both water and electrolytes, which are minerals such as sodium,
chloride and potassium. During illness, dehydration may be caused by an
inadequate fluid intake. Fever increases the loss of water. This becomes
significant if the dog does not drink enough to offset it. Other common
causes of dehydration are prolonged vomiting and diarrhea.
One sign of dehydration is loss of skin elasticity. When the skin along
the back is picked up into a fold, it should spring back into place.
In dehydration, the skin stays up in a ridge. Another sign is dryness
of the mouth. Late signs are sunken eyes and circulatory collapse.
Treatment: If your dog is noticeably dehydrated, you should seek veterinary
attention. Treatment is directed at replacing fluids and preventing further
losses.Loss of skin elasticity in severe dehydration. Note intravenous
fluids, which are of extreme importance.
- Loss of skin elasticity in severe dehydration. Note intravenous fluids, which
are of extreme importance.
In mild cases without vomiting, fluids can be given by mouth. If the dog won't
drink, you can give an electrolyte solution into the cheek pouch by bottle
or medicine syringe (see APPENDIX). Balanced electrolyte solutions for treating
dehydration in children are available at drug stores. Ringer's lactate, mixed
half and half with 5% dextrose in water, and a solution called Pedialyte are
suitable for dogs. They are given at the rate of two to four cc per pound body
weight per hour depending upon the severity of the dehydration (or as directed
by your veterinarian).
The treatment of dehydration in infant puppies is discussed in PEDIATRICS:Common
Copyright 1998, Macmillan Publishing. All rights reserved.