Dehydration in cats is usually caused by illness or heat stroke and can seriously compromise the health of your pet. Signs of dehydration include skin that does not spring back when lightly pinched, dry gums, and thick saliva. Since it promotes water and electrolyte retention, Pedialyte is often prescribed by vets to treat dehydration. However, administering Pedialyte to your cat may be a difficult task since your furry friend probably won't be a fan of the taste. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to make the process much less stressful for both you and your cat.
Administer unflavoured Pedialyte to your cat by making a mixture with equal parts of Pedialyte and water and pouring it into her bowl. This is the simplest way to give a dosage of Pedialyte, provided your cat will drink it.
Bring your cat to the bowl and watch him to see if he will drink. Give him a few minutes, but realise that a dehydrated cat will usually be eager for water. If he is very dehydrated and does not drink right away, administer the Pedialyte directly. If it is not an emergency, you may leave the bowl out and check back a few hours later to see if he has ingested any of the mixture. However, don't wait too long before attempting an alternative dosing method.
Recognise that there are several factors that could make administering Pedialyte in this way ineffective. If your cat is severely dehydrated, a more concentrated dose may be required. Also, very sick cats are sometimes unable to ingest fluids. There are also instances where finicky cats may refuse the mixture because they detect the Pedialyte. If your cat is unable or unwilling to consume the diluted Pedialyte, administer a dosage directly.
Draw out the correct amount of Pedialyte using the syringe. This will typically be 2 to 4 ml (0.06 to 0.14 fl oz) per pound of the cat, depending on the severity of the dehydration. Consult your veterinarian for the correct amount and frequency of dosage.
Hold your cat by the nape of her neck, pinching lightly. This spot is like a "pause button" in cats and holding it will keep them from moving around too much. If possible, have a second person do this for you so your hands will be free to administer the Pedialyte.
Peel back your cat's gums and place the tip of the syringe into his cheek pocket. Push down the plunger quickly and remove the syringe from his mouth. Continue to hold the cat's neck for a few more seconds to ensure that he does not spit out any of the Pedialyte.
Do not use Pedialyte as an alternative to veterinary treatment. Dehydration can be a symptom of a serious health condition and should always warrant a visit to the vet. If your cat is dehydrated due to heat shock, take her to the vet immediately. Depending on the severity of their condition, your cat may need more intensive treatment. Never give your cat Pedialyte without first receiving dosing directions from your vet. If you give her too little, it will be ineffective. Giving her too much can also be detrimental.