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How to Check for Symptoms of Dehydration

We all know it’s hot outside in Philadelphia with these record heat waves we've been seeing-- not to mention the humidity! We’ve been on high alert for the past few weeks, watching for signs of heat exhaustion. We try to spend some extra time after walks to make sure our dogs have enough water, and we’ll even play inside to keep them active where it’s cool. But even so, your dog may be dehydrated. It’s best to know the symptoms of dehydration- just in case!

Several symptoms include lethargy, too much or too little urination, dry sticky gums (caused by a delay in capillary refill time) and a lack of skin elasticity. You can check your pooch yourself for dehydration. One method is by pulling at the skin at the back of your dog’s neck. If the skin doesn’t return to its normal position within one or two seconds, your dog is probably dehydrated. This method may not work as well for older dogs because their skin loses elasticity as they age. But, you can also try pressing into their gums—if they don’t return to normal pink color quickly, within about 1-2 seconds, they definitely need some extra H20, and fast.

Remember, when your dog is that severely dehydrated, she’ll need to see a vet because it’s unlikely she’ll drink enough water herself to correct her dehydration. Often IV fluids are the only way to quickly get them back to normal. Dehydration is very serious and can be deadly to dogs, so be careful out there in this steamy summer weather!

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