Canines are naturally active. They run, jump, and even do acrobatic skills we humans can be surprised about. And eventually, you’ll see them huffing with their tongue flopping out, in need of water.
Did you know?
A dog’s body is made up of 80% water which is a few percent higher than humans. We only average 65 to 70% of water in our bodies. With this, you should know that dog needing water at all times is an understatement!
If you ever see your dog looking like it needs water, give it a drink immediately, especially if it had done an intense activity or if the sun is too hot. Just like us, not fulfilling their daily need of water could cause dehydration. In situations where dogs are left alone without water or if they are ill, there is a high risk of this.
Now, how long can dogs go on without water? Not long. Continue reading to learn more.
Signs of dehydration
One of the major signs a dog is dehydrated is how they look. A dehydrated dog is usually seen panting with an exposed tongue, a dry nose, sunken eyes, and agitated movements (they do this as they are looking for water).
Still, these signs are not always present in a dehydrated dog.
Dogs who are sick or with a serious illness can be dehydrated without showing it.
As an owner, you need to investigate further to determine if your dog is indeed losing fluids. Get closer and see if its saliva had gone thick or if the mouth had become dry.
A dog’s skin can also lose its elasticity at the time of dehydration. You can measure this by pulling your dog’s scruff. If the skin takes time to come back to its original form, then there’s a high chance that your dog is indeed dehydrated. Refusal to drink and evident lethargy even if there is water are also strong indicators that you need to move fast before your dog gets worse.
Causes of dehydration
The first reason a dog could be dehydrated is because water is not available. This could happen if a dog is left alone with owners accidentally forgetting to place water in their bowls or an incident stops them from drinking.
Just like it is to us, water is very important to dogs as it does them the following:
- Carries nutrients in and out of their cells
- Helps in food absorption
- Supports their joints
- Aids their bowel movements
- Keeps them refreshed
And like we said earlier, dogs who are ill can also be dehydrated. Particular illnesses such as diarrhea and fever could really drain dogs their much-needed fluids as they typically vomit or urinate a lot when suffering from these.
The weather can also contribute to a dog’s dehydration. And, no, it’s not only the intense heat that could get them; even the cold temperature is detrimental if they do not get enough water in their system.
A dog that is left without water usually lasts up to three days, and by this time it is severely dehydrated and its life is already hanging by a thread.
The first day
Just for the first 24 hours without water, a dog will be rendered restless. By this moment, it will be actively seeking for water, and depending on its situation, a dog would be unsuccessful in finding one.
Dogs are naturally fine without food after a day, especially when they are sick, but not without the moisture and cool-down provided by water.
The second day
Another day without water makes the dog completely desperate to quench its thirst, and this is where weakness also starts to settle in. Depending on the breed and the health of a dog, a second day could already mean death for many of them.
The third day
Three days without water and food is fatal to canines, and inevitable passing is a better guarantee than it is on the second day.
There is still hope, however.
If you find your dog still alive at this moment, rush them to the nearest veterinarian for immediate medical assistance. It needs to replenish the fluids it had lost, and it needs to be done as quickly as possible.
Beyond three days
As dogs have different capabilities, some dogs could last for more than three days, but that is already pushing it. If some dogs had managed to get it through the first three days, they are usually already at death’s door, and it’s difficult to say if giving them medical care could be of any help.
Avoiding dehydration in dogs
To avoid dehydration, here are some regular measures you can follow:
- A regular dog needs an ounce of water per pound of its body weight each day so make sure that water is always available and easily accessible.
- Change your dog’s water often to ensure that it is drinking fresh and clean fluids.
- If going outside with your dog, don’t forget to have a filled water jug with you which its lid can be used by your dog to drink from.
- If leaving your dog for a few days, you can also use self-filling water dispensers or water fountains so water cannot spill even when dogs accidentally knock them.
- Keep your dogs cool at all times, not just with water, but also with the right ventilation, and aside from water, you can also help dogs dehydrate through other solutions such as an ice pack which you can place on their bodies or through dehydrating food such as fruit.
- If your dog is ill, make sure that they get adequate medical attention, veterinarians usually hook dogs with IV fluid and they might also require other things such as medicine intake or doing the fluid therapy at home by yourself.
Wrapping it up
Dogs are more than animals that guard our homes or entertain us, they actually are our four-legged family members. And just like every member of the family, they too need necessary elements such as water to keep them from drying up.
Dehydration is one of the worst things our lovely furry friends can die from. It’s a lengthy process of thirst and distress that could affect their physical and mental states. Do not let this happen to them! Make sure that they are drinking their water!
About the Author:
Charles is a certified pet-lover who writes for RestoraPet.com. He, together with his wife, enjoys doing volunteer work in various animal shelters at his city.