6 Signs Your Dog is Dehydrated

Warning Signs Your Dog May Need More Water

golden retriever dog drinking water from squirting water bottle

If you’re an animal lover like me, then your pet must mean the WORLD to you! We love them like part of our family and treat them that way too. Today we are looking at 6 important signs your dog is dehydrated.

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signs your dog is dehydrated

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Water is vitally important to our furry best friends’ health! Just like we need to drink water to keep our body healthy, so do our pets.

Dehydration is the excessive loss of water from the body, when the body is losing more water than it is taking in. This is the same for both humans and animals. This dehydration then decreases the volume of blood, which reduces oxygen delivery to the body and waste removal. This throws off the electrolyte balance in the body which can affect the organs, bones, muscles, intestines, blood pressure, heart, and respiration. Dehydration in pets can quickly lead to death.

Dog dehydration can happen for many reasons. Has your buddy been sick with vomiting and diarrhea? This means more fluid is leaving his body than he is probably taking in. Did you go outside for a long walk, the park, or the beach? On a hot, or even not so hot day, a dog can easily become dehydrated. Is doggy’s water bowl empty? That may be his only source of drinking water and it’s dry.

thirsty dog resting

As a pet owner, it’s our responsibility to pay attention to our furry friend’s needs. They can’t tell us they’re thirsty, so we need to pay attention to what their body is saying.

Here are the 6 easiest signs to watch for that your dog is dehydrated:


If your dog is panting excessively, it may be more than a sign he’s tired from walking or playing. If he’s hot, he may be also drooling and losing saliva (fluid).

Lack of Energy

If your dog is unusually tired, and not just his typical lazy pooch behavior, his body may be low on water.

Dry Nose and Gums

A dog’s nose can tell us a lot. His nose should be moist and not dry or cracked. The gums should be moist or even a bit slimy with a pinkish color. A good test is to push gently on the pinks gums and they should turn white for a moment and then quickly fill back to their healthy pink color. If they are slow to return, it’s a sign of a problem.

Sunken Eyes

You know that look your dog gives you when he wants some love, it’s dinner time, or time to take me for a walk? Those sweet healthy eyes are a clue to his health. If they look sunken and dry, it’s a good sign of dehydration.

Lack of Skin Elasticity

Give your best bud a little pinch. Not too hard, of course. But when he’s nice and hydrated, pinch a little of his skin between your 2 fingers and it should spring back to its original position. If he’s dehydrated, it will take longer to return to position.

This is a good test even for us. Give the skin on the back of your hand a pinch. Go ahead, do it now. It should flatten back quickly. If it’s slow to go back down, then your body needs more water. Go get a big glass of water and drink it all right now!

Loss of Appetite

If your dog is dehydrated, his body is off on electrolytes and his organs aren’t 100%. He’s not feeling well and not a happy pup. This will cause him to lose his appetite and not want to eat.

Just Pay Attention To What Your Pet Is Trying To Tell You

These 6 signs are usually the earliest symptoms to tell us our dog needs more water. Hopefully your pet can bounce back by simply giving him a fresh bowl of water and him happily drinking it up. But this fix is usually only good for mild dehydration.

If your dog has been sick with diarrhea and vomiting, or has been left without water for a longer time, an emergent trip to the veterinarian is required.

Simply giving your pet water can not replace the electrolytes that are out of balance in their system. A vet will most likely give your dog IV fluids to slowly return hydration and his electrolyte balance to prevent a more fatal outcome (and we NEVER want that to happen).

So, keep your best friend’s water bowl full of fresh water, take water with you on outings (click here for pet water bottles), and pay attention to his overall health. Hopefully you’ll have years with your happy and well-hydrated pupper.

Stay hydrated for a healthy and happy life!

Written by Dayna

After years of chronic health problems with migraines and IBS, I began to realize drinking more water helped with many of my problems. When my mom developed Alzheimer's and osteoporosis, I decided to make a lifestyle change so that I didn't have the same future. Change isn't easy, but I hope that we can prevent chronic illness and disease by living a healthier life.


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