How Pet Dehydration & Heatstroke Happens

Like humans, all mammals depend on water to keep their bodies functioning at optimal levels. When the body loses more fluid than it is taking in pet dehydration can happen. Water is essential to life. Some of water’s functions within the body include:

  • Flushing wastes from the body
  • Regulating body temperature
  • Lubricating joints
  • Transporting nutrients throughout the body
Throughout the day, an animal loses some water naturally through activities such as breathing, defecating, panting, urinating, and evaporation through the paws. This fluid loss is generally compensated for by drinking and eating. If their body passes the point where these activities can replace the water lost they may suffer dehydration. If left unchecked, this dehydration can spiral into heatstroke, permanent damage to organs, and eventually death.

Dehydration can be a sign of a more serious condition like certain cancers, kidney disease, diabetes, and more. You will only know for sure by having your pet examined by a veterinarian.

The most common cause of pet heatstroke is carelessness. Leaving your pet in a car on a hot or sunny day, failing to consider your pet’s access to shade, or allowing your pet to go without fresh cool water for too long. If left unchecked or untreated, heatstroke in your pet can also cause cardiac arrest, seizures, and coma. It can also lead to permanent organ damage and even death.

read more

request an appointment

Signs of Pet Dehydration

There are some common symptoms of pet dehydration that you should know. These include:

  • Panting
  • Reduced energy levels
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry nose
  • Dry gums
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Dry-looking sunken eyes

Signs of Pet Heatstroke

Symptoms of heatstroke in pets include:

  • Increased salivation
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Bright red tongue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Pale gums
  • Sticky thick saliva
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

When to Take Your Pet to the Veterinarian

Anytime your pet exhibits symptoms of dehydration or heatstroke it is important to take them to the veterinarian. Some can be cooled down with external methods such as a cold bath and using air conditioning. However, some pets require blood pressure support, intravenous fluids, and other advanced treatment that only a licensed vet can provide.