Is your pet dehydrated? Dehydration in pets is a potentially life-threatening condition that must be taken seriously. It doesn’t mean that your pet is just thirsty, because thirst is only a signal that your body needs water. Without water, your pet wouldn’t be able to survive.

Cats and dogs alike need at least 1 ounce of water each day for every pound he weighs. So, if he weighs 10lbs, he needs 10 ounces of water. Sounds simple, right? However, some pet parents face difficulty when trying to get their pet to drink water and are forced to figure out how to hydrate a dog or cat or worse – how to hydrate a dog or cat that won’t drink.

The water in our pets’ bodies need to be replaced regularly because they naturally lose water throughout the day through sweating, panting, peeing and pooping. Pets lose even more water when the weather is hot.

Learn more about dehydration in pets: the causes, signs, effects, treatment and prevention below.


Causes of dehydration

Dehydration can mean two things: (1) your pet isn’t drinking enough or any water at all; or (2) your pet is suffering from an underlying illness, such as:

  • Inflammation or irritation in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Excessive drooling
  • Panting
  • Ulcers
  • Bacterial, viral or fungal infection
  • GI parasites
  • Obstruction in the digestive tract
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Kidney disease
  • Burns or a large injury to the skin
  • Ingestion of a toxin
  • Endocrine system diseases
  • Heat stroke

If you’re unsure about what the cause might be, it’s best to take your pet to the veterinarian.


Signs of dehydration in pets

  • Lack of energy
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry nose, mouth and/or gums
  • Lethargy
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Decreased skin elasticity

Pets prone to dehydration are those who suffer from illnesses, such as: senior pets or those with kidney disorders, cancer and hyperthyroidism.



Simple ways to check for dehydration in pets

Gently lift the skin on the back of his neck (unless he’s overweight), this should immediate return to normal position. If it takes a while to go back to normal, it’s best you encourage him to drink more water. 

Another way is to test for dehydration is capillary refill time in the gums. This entails you check pressing against your pet’s gums. Once you remove your finger, the area turns white and will return to pink. However, if it takes longer than usual, then you know your pet is dehydrated.


Effects of dehydration

Without enough water, your pet won’t be able to function normally. He may feel the following effects.

  • Reduced volume of both blood and intracellular fluids flowing through the body
  • Reduced oxygen delivery to tissue and organs
  • Thrown off balance of electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium)


Treatment and prevention

If your pet is suffering from mild dehydration, ensure that he drinks more water to replace his losses. However, if your pet is dehydrated due to an illness, take him to the veterinarian. You will not only need to hydrate him, but also replace electrolytes that he has lost and check for any further complications.

For dogs and cats that won’t drink, always remember – PREVENTION IS KEY. Take the right precautionary measure to ensure that your pet is hydrated at all times.

  1. Provide drinking water

Don’t wait to know how to rehydrate a dog and cat - place clean, fresh and safe drinking water for your pet to drink daily and in areas accessible to him. Despite providing your pet with water, there are some pets who don’t drink enough or won’t drink at all. In some instances, some pets are picky and prefer a certain method of obtaining water. Choose from a variety of bowls or dispensers to see how he likes to drink his water.

  1. Feed all-natural and organic moisture-dense food

The most challenging question: how to hydrate a dog that won’t drink? For pet parents whose pets have difficulty staying hydrated, feed wet food. Canned food contains approximately 70-80% moisture, making pets drink less and yet, stay hydrated. But this doesn’t mean you feed wet food all the time! Ensure that your pet gets a complete and balanced diet and encourage the proper intake of water.


Tiki cat and dog wet food come in a variety of delicious flavors.


Pet stores in the Philippines like Bow and Wow have a wide variety of canned wet food for dogs and cats, using only all-natural and organic ingredients that are beneficial to your pet’s overall health.