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How to tell if your dog is dehydrated

If you like long walks with your pooch I am sure you have seen him panting before. Surprisingly summer isn't the only season dogs get dehydrated! Whether your dog loves long walks, hates to stop playing to drink water, or spends a lot of time outdoors, let's talk about how to tell if your dog is at risk of dehydration.

A lot of factors can make these circumstances more likely, but hot weather, increased exercise, illness, and advanced age are a few of the most common.

Dehydration occurs when a dog’s body isn’t receiving enough fluids to make up for their water loss. When your dog’s internal water level is too low, their body compensates by drawing water out of its cells, resulting in a loss of essential electrolytes.

If you have ever felt dehydrated after a run in the hot summer’s sun - you may have felt lethargic, unfocused, or nauseated. Dehydration can impact your dog’s muscle function, appetite, focus, and energy levels.

Look for these symptoms to determine if your dog is dehydrated:

  • Sunken, distant eyes
  • Lethargy / reduced energy levels
  • Slow response
  • Dry mouth / nose / gums
  • Weak appetite and pulse
  • Excessive panting
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Dark urine

Ways to physically check if your dog may be dehydrated are:

  1. Inspect your dog’s gums to see whether they're wet and glossy or dull and tacky
  2. Press your dog’s gums with your fingertipthe white spot left behind should almost immediately turn pink again, too. 
  3. You can also lift her skin between her shoulder blades to form a "tent" shape. When you let go the skin should snap back to normal; if it doesn't, she's lacking fluids. 

How to keep your dog from becoming dehydrated:

  1. Offer plenty of fresh water! Be sure the water is clean and not too hot or too cold. Also make an effort to lead your dog to the water bowl every ten minutes or so during sessions of play or outdoor time.
  2. During hot weather, go on walks in the early morning and after sunset.
  3. Take it slow! Allow for lots of breaks and provide cold water. Bring a portable water bowl and enough water for your pup. Best way to do this is with our Hydropup™ portable water bottle – Get yours here
  4. Avoid dog parks or group walks during the hottest hours of the day, as your pet may overexert themselves.
  5. Be sure to change your dog's water every day. Most dogs need around an ounce of water per pound of body weight a day, so keep her bowl full and located somewhere easy to get to.
  6. Provide your pet with shade and shelter from overheating, which can cause a heat stroke.


If you notice signs of dehydration in your dog, provide fresh water for your dog to slowly drink. Taking in fluids too quickly can cause vomiting and further loss of fluid.

Always consult your vet to get their advice, they may suggest observing your dog for a few hours to see if you notice any changes in their behavior, or the frequency or color of her urine.

Enjoy these long walks with your furry mate but be sure to always provide enough water to avoid dehydration. Our Hydropup™ portable water bottle is the perfect product to bring on your walks to avoid your pooch from overheating. Get yours here