Is Your Dog Getting Enough Water?

A goldendoodle catching water from a hose

With summer comes warm temperatures and fun days in the sun with your dogs and puppies. What's not to love? As you enjoy that summer heat in a socially-distanced way, be sure to keep an eye on your dog and how much they're drinking. 

Although dogs and humans are both mammals, how we drink and act when we're hot are different. Dogs don't sweat like we do -- they have to pant to cool themselves off. Though most dogs self-regulate to make sure they get enough water, sometimes they overheat or dehydrate, just like you and I. Here's what to watch out for:

Symptoms of Dehydration in Dogs

Your dog may start acting funny if he's dehydrated. Keep an eye out for symptoms like a loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea, reduced energy, panting, and sunken eyes. You can always do a quick "skin pinch test" or "dry gum test" to check your dog's hydration. For the skin pinch test, gently grab your dog's scruff on the neck and pull it away from his body, then release. If it snaps back into place, he's hydrated. If it slowly moves back into place, he may be dehydrated. 

You can also check a dog's gums to determine if they're dehydrated. A dehydrated dog's gums will feel dry and sticky to the touch. If you press gently on the gums until they turn white, it will take longer than a few seconds for them to return to their normal color. If you see a few symptoms of dehydration in your dog, you may want to consider evaluating their water intake.

How Dogs Get Dehydrated

When dogs are perpetually dehydrated, it's usually due to some sort of environmental factor. For example, your dog might not like drinking stagnant water. If he refuses to drink out of his water bowl, consider picking up a doggie drinking fountain. They're affordable and might just be the key to getting your dog to drink more water. 

Drinkwell 360 Stainless Steel Pet Fountain
Drinkwell 360 Stainless Steel Pet Fountain

Your dog may also be dehydrated if you only feed him dry food or freeze-dried raw food. If you're concerned about your dog's hydration, try to mix it up: add some wet food or wet food toppers to his daily meal. If you can't change his diet, you could always add bone broth ice cubes or similar frozen treats as a way to occupy his time and get some more moisture in his diet. 

FreeStyle Grain-Free Lamb and Lentils Recipe Canned Dog Food
FreeStyle Grain-Free Lamb and Lentils Recipe Canned Dog Food

When To See A Vet

If your dog is dehydrated as a result of visible sickness (vomiting, diarrhea), you should bring them to the vet if it lasts more than a few hours or there are other signs of illness like lethargy or excessive panting. If your dog is just chronically dehydrated, try adjusting food and water sources, then take them to your vet if you can't solve the problem on your own. If you're unsure, play it safe and give your vet a call!