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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!


The WORST of bad puppy habits… play biting!

While puppies are certainly tons of fun, they come with a boatload of bad habits that need to be corrected early on! Biting is one of the worst of these habits, and one of the most important to nip in the bud right away. With their tiny, razor sharp baby teeth they can easily cause puncture wounds, even with the smallest nibble. We know they don’t mean to do it and it’s all in good fun, but that’s no excuse not to teach them proper puppy behavior.

There are several reasons why puppies in particular tend to bite. Puppies that are teething (this occurs between the ages of two weeks and twelve weeks) bite because their teeth are coming in and this is very painful for them. Their mouths need stimulation and if they don’t have toys they’re going to come after your hands and feet…ankles, legs, pants—pretty much anything they can get their little chompers on!

The solution: offer only one or two toys to help your puppy distinguish between what’s chewable and what’s not. Too many toys can teach him that he can chew on anything in sight. Giving him ice to chew on also helps alleviate the pain and swelling.

Puppies also bite just because they don’t know any better! Often, puppies don’t stay with their litters long enough to learn appropriate playtime etiquette. If a puppy bites his sister, she’ll yelp. You should do the same thing. When your puppy bites you during playtime, yelp and stop playing. To reinforce your message of “biting, NOT okay!” you can place your puppy in a crate alone for two minutes right after the bite or fill a small spray bottle with water to spritz in your puppy’s face when he bites.

We also find it useful to grab your pup’s muzzle with your thumb and forefinger to close their mouths. Lightly press down on the top of the nose with a tiny bit of pressure, and say “NO!” or “No bite!” This is similar to what their mother would do as a correction if they were still with their litter and while they may yelp, it doesn’t hurt them and they will learn quickly that this is not acceptable behavior.

Here is a great video that explains these tips:

Enjoy your puppy!