Hot Weather Help: Dehydration

Hot Weather Help: Dehydration

Every dog parent expects some drooling or panting on a hot day, and every cat parent knows their feline can be finicky about drinking water. But in these hot Texas summers, how can we know when our pets are approaching dehydration? Here are the signs to look for:
  • Excessive, dry panting
  • General sluggishness
  • Dry nose and mouth
  • Dry, red eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of elasticity in the skin

What is dehydration?

Dehydration is a lack of water in the body and occurs when fluid levels drop to less than normal. This can be caused by either reduced water intake or increased fluid loss.

What causes cat and dog dehydration?

Common causes of pet dehydration include being left without water for an extended period of time, or playing hard without taking enough water breaks.

While providing your pet access to clean water seems like Pet Parenting 101, it's not uncommon for a pet to be left outside and a parent forgets to refill the water bowl. It's an easy mistake, but in the summer heat, dehydration can have dangerous consequences.

Pet dehydration can also be caused by persistent vomiting, diarrhea, fever, illness or overheating in hot weather - like heat stroke.

Can all pets suffer from dehydration?

Yes! Any pet that lacks the proper amount of water in their system can become dehydrated. However, elderly, pregnant and nursing pets, as well as those with kidney disorders, diabetes, cancer or infectious diseases face an increased risk of dehydration.

What do I do if I think my pet is dehydrated?

If your pet is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, it’s best to take them to the vet as soon as possible where they can rehydrate via IV quickly and safely.

A vet can also evaluate whether the dehydration is the sign of more serious, underlying issues.

How do I prevent dehydration in my pets?

Dehydration in pets is easy to prevent.

  • Always provide fresh, clean water to pets, and frequently replace the water and clean the bowl to keep any funky bacteria at bay.
  • When taking your pet on a trip or outdoor adventure, be sure to pack water and an extra bowl.
  • Steer pets away from drinking in ponds, pools, or out of the toilet, as these can house bacteria and chemicals. Especially in Central Austin!
  • Provide multiple drinking stations in the home for easy access.
  • High moisture diets help with dehydration, as well. Learn more about high-moisture diets here.
  • Cats are ancestrally desert animals, and can be a bit finicky when it comes to drinking a sufficient amount of water. To entice your cat to hydrate, it may help to use a stainless steel bowl or fountain, considering a high-moisture diet, and/or keep water at room temperature.


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