Home Blog 5 Warning Signs of Dehydration in Dogs – How to Prevent and When to Call the Vet

5 Warning Signs of Dehydration in Dogs – How to Prevent and When to Call the Vet

5 Warning Signs of Dehydration in Dogs – How to Prevent and When to Call the Vet

From time to time, we are probably searching for remedies on dog dehydration in a panic. I can only think of three scenarios that we are in right now.

One, we forgot to put out water in our dog’s bowl, and we will be away for work until later of the day. If that’s our case, our dog is okay. There is no need to worry. How long a dog can live without water? It will surprise us when I tell us that, like people, the general maximum number of days that our dog can go without water is THREE DAYS.

Just don’t forget to refill our dog’s water bowl once we get home.

The second scenario, one that we should be worried about, is our dog not taking enough fluids than it usually gets. It could be a sign of diarrhea and vomiting. Sudden development of diarrhea is because of stress, bacterial infection, etc.

In the third scenario, our dog is passing urine more often than usual. It can be an early sign of internal problems such as kidney failure or heart disease. Watch out for other symptoms that tell us so.

Here are five warning signs that our dog is dehydrated, how to prevent it, and what are the symptoms that tell us to call our vet immediately.

dog drinking water

  1. Skin Elasticity Test

Pinch the skin between our dog’s shoulders, with just enough lift that it doesn’t hurt. A healthy, hydrated dog’s skin should be able to retract after we release it. In extreme cases of dehydration, the skin in our dog’s shoulder blades will not pull back after it’s pinched. We also notice that it appears to be flaky.

  1. Nose and Gum Check

All dog’s noses are wet, cold, and moist. Another sign that our dog is dehydrated is when his nose is dry and appears to crack. A healthy gum color for dogs should be bubble gum pink. When we press our dog’s gum, it should return to this color immediately. If it doesn’t, there should be a problem in blood flow—a sign that our dog needs to hydrate.

  1. Sunken Eyes

Our dog’s eyes appear to be sunken. Dehydration causes the body to shrink, including the pads around the dog’s eyes. Also, when dehydrated, the eyeballs loses water content.

  1. Loss of Appetite

A loss of appetite can be a warning sign of dehydration but also illness. Distemper and parvovirus are some examples of dog illness that causes discomfort. Our dog may then blame the food it is having. Monitor other symptoms as this could be a sign of infections, liver disease, or heart problems. Sometimes, these illnesses caused dehydration.

  1. Dog Weakness and Lethargy (Low Energy Levels Than Normal)

The same case for loss of appetite, heed for early signs of a chronic condition. When our dog seems to be uninterested and doesn’t take part in the play, this is a sign that something should trouble our dog. It’s best to monitor their activities during these times

How to Prevent Dehydration

a dog that drinks a lot of water because he is thirsty

Our pets naturally lose water in their bodies because of activities. They lose water through sweat, heavy panting, and peeing. Follow these tips to prevent dehydration in dogs.

  1. Constant Supply of Clean Water

Depending on our dog’s size, it may need more or less water than other dogs. Bigger dogs drink more water than smaller ones. We also need to figure out how much water is too much for our dog. For daily water intake, our dog needs an ounce of water for each pound of its weight. Especially when it is summer, our dog might need more. Whatever the amount, make sure always to change the water every day, so he gets a clean, regular water supply.

  1. If we are thirsty after a workout run, in most cases, our dog is too

If we take our dog with us during a workout, we might stop to drink water but forgets that our dog could be thirsty. Remember, they have been running for long periods as we have. Give them water. If we’re outside, stop at a spot where our dog can have clean water access. How long a dog can live without water during more active hours? It is shorter than normal situations so it is best to be mindful of this.

  1. Dissolve food in water

If our dog is just not drinking enough water, or if we can’t feed our dog with solid food because of loss of appetite, a broth can be a substitute. Broth provides its energy as it is mixed in with some electrolytes.

  1. Don’t share our SALTY snacks

As much as we like sharing our food to our pets, it worsens their dehydrated condition. Especially if we are feeding them crackers or salty foods. Excessive salt intake, even for pets, is not healthy as it holds extra water in our body. The kidney needs to balance a ratio of sodium to water to keep organs functioning properly. Salty snacks make our dogs easily dehydrated.


Like people who do intermittent fasting, or not eating and drinking for long periods, it is not safe for our dog to drink large amounts of water or eat in various amounts immediately. Too much water for our dog might also cause vomiting. Start small by giving them sips of water and do this every hour until their condition gets better.

When To Call Our Vet

If the tips I provided cured the dehydration, I am so glad to help. But if we are still noticing these symptoms for over 24-48 hours of rehydrating our dog, I suggest we need to call our vet immediately.

Other signs that our dog is in a chronic condition are heatstroke, shock, severe dehydration shown by excessive panting, and persistent vomiting. Our dog might have diarrhea. Call the vet, and he might need to use intravenous fluids to rehydrate our dog immediately.

Were these tips helpful in knowing how long a dog can live without water? Tell me in the comments. Let me know how our dog is doing now that we have these steps to prevent dehydration. Share this article with our fellow dog-lovers.



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Hi, everyone! My name is Mathew Barham and I’m the editor in charge here at M-Dog. I’m currently based in Northampton, Pennsylvania, where I live with my beautiful wife, two amazing kids, and four rowdy rescue dogs. Growing up, my parents had a huge backyard and lots of animals. So my entire life, I was surrounded by pets that I cared for deeply. When my wife and I moved into a bigger place, I knew that I wanted to do the same for my family. That’s when we went to an animal shelter and fell in love with the most adorable little rescue pup. Since then, our family just kept growing, and we couldn’t be happier about it.