Keeping your dog hydrated in summer makes sense. But did you know it's important in autumn and winter too? Make sure you know how to spot the signs of dog dehydration and heat stress early so you can get your pet the help they need. Or better still, prevent it happening at all.
If your dog is lethargic, has a fast heart rate, panting or rapid breathing, sunken eyes, and dry gums, they could be dehydrated. Another sign of dehydration is skin that has lost its elasticity. That's why some vets will pinch the skin on a dog's back to check for dehydration. If their skin stays up in a ridge, you need to take them to the vet urgently.
Long periods of dehydration can lead to shock and general organ failure, so if you suspect a problem with your dog, do not hesitate to call your vet, who'll be able to make an accurate diagnosis, and can administer the appropriate treatment.
For starters, make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water available – especially in summer and while exercising. Refill their bowl throughout the day and keep it clean.
Avoid exercising them in the heat of the day and make sure they have adequate shade if outside. Consider leaving your dog inside the house on a very hot day if you have fans or air-conditioning to keep them cool. Some long-haired dogs are cooler when their coat is clipped short, so if your dog is showing signs of being hot, like lying on the cold floor or panting, consider having their hair clipped. And remember; never ever leave your dog in the car on a hot day as it can be life threatening within just a few minutes.
About Dr Lisa Chimes
Dr Lisa Chimes is a Purina Australia Ambassador and our resident vet. In 2006 she graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (First Class Honours). She obtained her membership qualification in Small Animal Medicine with the Australian/New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists. Dr Lisa is a vet at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital and appears on Channel Ten's 'Bondi Vet'