How to rehydrate a sick dog

Updated March 23, 2017

Like humans, dog bodies are made of 80 per cent water. Having enough water in a dog's system determines the flow of nutrients, food, and waste through its body. There are several illnesses that dogs can acquire that deplete their hydration levels. Parvo is a virus that prevents their bodies from absorbing nutrients, while parasites can cause diarrhoea and therefore dehydration. There are simple methods you can use to hydrate your dog.

Give the dog access to twice as much water as its body size needs per day and keep the bowl full. A dog needs an ounce of water for every pound of weight, daily. A 9.07kg. dog should be given at least 1134gr. of water per day.

Offer the dog Pedialyte to drink. Pedialyte is a drink made for children, to rehydrate them during and after sickness. It also works well for dogs. Pedialyte comes in different flavours but you should buy the flavourless variety. If the dog does not want to drink the Pedialyte alone, mix in a bit of chicken soup broth. The heartier flavour will appeal more to the dog.

Feed the dog ice chips. Some illnesses prevent the dog from wanting to drink on its own. In this case you can hand feed the dog ice chips--one at a time. If the Pedialyte does not work, and the dog is not drinking on its own, resort to this step.

Check the dog for symptoms of dehydration. After you have given the dog access to water, fed it Pedialyte, and if it's not drinking, fed it ice chips, then monitor its symptoms. If the dog is dehydrated still, its skin will lose elasticity and moisture. You can tell by pinching the skin; if it does not immediately rebound, it has lost moisture. The dog's eyes will appear dry and its mouth and gums will appear dry too. Feel inside the mouth for wetness.

Visit a veterinarian if the dog's condition does not improve over a few days' time. When a dog is suffering from dehydration due to a past or current illness, sometimes the most efficient way to get them hydrated is through an IV drip. Seeing the veterinarian is always a good idea when a dog is sick. They can diagnose the sickness, as well as the severity of dehydration and prescribe the best way to get the dog back on its feet.

Things You'll Need

  • Pedialyte or electrolyte drink for dogs
  • Water
  • Chicken soup
  • Crushed ice
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