Dogs, like most people, love playing outdoors at full sunshine. Not only is it brighter on the environment when the sun is up, the sun’s rays also provide essential benefits that make a strong dog. But too much exposure to heat which normally comes with the sun can also be detrimental to our mostly water-based, four-legged kind—dehydration.
Like most animals who live by instinct, dogs would normally know when it is thirsty so that it would have to drink. But when water is not available and the dog is too exposed to sun’s heat, which is what might likely happen when you are hiking long distances with your dog without a bottle of water for your pet in tow, dehydration occurs even if you are not aware of it.
What makes dogs dehydrated?
As earlier premised, our dog’s body is comprised mostly of water like ourselves do—around 80%. Although dogs may not lose as much water from their bodies like we do as they do not sweat, this does not mean that they do not lose water in their bodies through other means. If not peeing, a dog loses a good portion of its body’s water stock whenever it breathes or pants.
If normal breathing alone is already taking its toll from a dog’s water reserve, how much more would it be in an instance where the dog is under the duress of the sun’s heat?
However, according to Bradley Harris, DVM, of BluePearl Veterinary Partners, there are also other causes as to why a dog would easily dehydrate under heat—if the dog is suffering from a metabolic condition such as diabetes, vomiting excessively, or having diarrhea.
In other cases, simply being a brachycepalic—short-nosed—breed, a puppy, or a senior dog also warrants a dog of being too susceptible to dehydration.
Essentially, dogs get dehydrated when their body loses more water than they are capable of ingesting such as by not drinking enough water or by exerting themselves, particularly during a hot day.
Symptoms of Dehydration
Although there are telltale signs which yell that your dog is dehydrated such as your dog becoming lethargic, not wanting to move, or panting rather excessively, there are other ways you could identify if there is dehydration on your pet. If your pet’s eyes have appeared sunken or if the skin at the back of its head has become less elastic, your pet is indeed lacking sufficient hydration in its body.
But if you are keen in the idea of getting a more closure look at what dehydration is like to dogs, then checking out your canine’s teeth and gums could show you just that. As explained by Dr. Richter, the dryness on the tissues of the mouth that is apparent during dehydration is highly indicative of dehydration among dogs.
With the level of hydration as the root cause of a dehydration problem, the logical solution has always fall down to water. So, when your pet has gone dehydrated after a lengthy exposure to the sun outdoors, the initial response should always to bring your pet someplace cooler and keep it cool by wetting its paws and legs and introducing some clean water to drink.
If the dog’s level of hydration does not get improved in spite of the rendered treatment, an intravenous fluid infusion from the vet’s clinic might be necessary.