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Dehydration – signs, symptoms and what you can do about it

Author: ProDog Raw

YouTube video

Water is the food of life!

There is no doubt good old fashioned H2O is one of the core foundations to canine (and human) health and well-being. Staying hydrated is crucial to every system, function and cell of the body. 

More than 70% of a dog’s body is made of water and just 2% dehydration can begin to impact cognitive ability. As little as 10% water loss can lead to serious adverse health concerns, so ensuring your canine companion stays adequately hydrated is an essential component to helping them to live their best lives.

There are a range of factors that can lead to dehydration:

Eating a dry food diet

Eating a mixture of dry food and wet food 

Excessive urination

Lack of fresh drinking water

Excessive panting, diarrhoea or vomiting 

Kidney disease or diabetes

Exposure to hot environments

Certain medications

How do you know if your dog is dehydrated?

Here are a few signs to look out for:

  • Loss of attention/concentration
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of skin elasticity, 
  • Loss of appetite, 
  • Panting,
  • Pale, sticky gums
  • Prolonged capillary refill
  • Dry nose,
  • Dry eyes,
  • Itchy Skin 

What should you do if you suspect your dog may be dehydrated?

We asked Dr Nick Thompson, Holistic Vet, to provide you with his specialist guidance.

Check out the video above or, for the readers among you, we’ve included a summary below of the main points. We’ve added the time stamp too so if you want to watch a snippet of the video covering the topic you’re particularly interested in we’ve got you covered!


Dehydration happens when your dog’s body is losing more water than it is taking in – it can be caused by things such as diarrhoea, vomiting or urinary problems.


The techniques recommended in this video are designed for dogs not yet displaying symptoms that are too concerning. 


The way to test if your dog is dehydrated is to pinch some skin just above the eye or the scruff of the neck. When you let go, the skin should spring back; if the skin remains raised then your dog is dehydrated. 


If your dog is dehydrated but not displaying concerning symptoms you want to encourage them to drink water.


Make an electrolyte solution. For every pint of water, mix a quarter teaspoon of salt (Himalayan salt if possible, but ordinary will do) and half a teaspoon of honey. Dissolve these into the water. Electrolyte solutions work to regulate hydration. 


If you have got to the stage where you are using a syringe to deliver fluid into your dog, it is time to go to the vet.


If your dog is becoming dehydrated and you don’t know why that’s another reason to visit the vet.


Very young dogs or very old dogs can be fragile, so dehydration can be more severe than with healthy adult dogs. Always best to get the puppies and older dogs checked over by a vet.

A final note from the ProDog team:

Feeding a raw dog food diet is an excellent step towards better hydration, the moisture content of quality natural raw food is significantly higher than processed or dry dog food. If you haven’t made the switch to raw feeding yet, or you haven’t tried ProDog wagtastic meal options, what are you waiting for? Why not give our sample pack a try?

If you have any questions or would like some support in transitioning your four-legged friend to a raw food diet, do drop us a message via our contact form .



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