Puppy Dehydration: Signs, Prevention, & Treatment

Dr. Jason Gagné, DVM, DACVIM
By Dr. Jason Gagné, DVM, DACVIM
Updated: 5/9/20241-2 minutes
Is Puppy Dehydrated

Your puppy needs regular watering. Here are some (moist) tips...

Puppies are constantly on the move… playing, exploring and learning. They need plenty of food to keep them going… and especially lots of water to stay hydrated. After all, a dog’s body is made up of water, as much as 80% in adult dogs. (Learn about feeding your puppy a well-balanced diet.)

What Causes Low Fluid Levels?

Lots of things! Overheating and illness that cause vomiting, diarrhea or excessive urination can lead to dehydration. (Some underlying issues like kidney failure or ingestion of a harmful substance can also cause dehydration, see your veterinarian if symptoms are severe or persist.)

Normally, though, your puppy just loses fluids naturally through their skin, mouth (panting), and by going potty. That’s why it’s so important for them to drink enough to replace what they lose.

Dehydration Symptoms

Here are a few things to look for:

  • Tented Skin (if you pull the skin up it doesn’t snap back quickly)
  • Lethargy
  • Sunken eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Excessive panting

What to Do if Puppy Is Running Dry

If they’re simply thirsty they’ll drink on their own and recover shortly. If the dehydration is more severe, take them to veterinarian immediately – there’s a possibility there might be an underlying problem causing it.

Ways to Prevent Dehydration

In hot weather conditions, keep your puppy out of the sun for prolonged periods of time. Around the house you can avoid bacterial infections by cleaning their food and water bowls frequently and keeping them out of the toilet bowl. And of course, always make sure your puppy drinks plenty of water. On average, dogs need an ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. So keep that water bowl filled!

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