Pedialyte is made for children and it is an electrolyte drink designed to reduce dehydration from a sickness that may cause dehydration due to vomiting, diarrhea or general lack of drinking fluid.
Dehydration is the thing to be most concerned about with any illness. In fact, in many cases, it isn’t the illness that kills, it is the dehydration that weakens the system and renders the body incapable of fighting any longer.
When dehydration gets extreme, the body begins rationing water to only the most necessary functions. Eventually, one by one, organs begin to shut down. The kidneys will finally shut down and it is typically at this point that the body completely gives up. Death is imminent.
Pedialyte is safe to give to dogs, up to a cup per 50 pounds of weight, every hour.
Signs of mild dehydration include:
- Dry mouth, nose, and gums
Moderate to Severe dehydration symptoms:
- Skin tenting – when pinched the skin stays tented instead of returning to normal shape.
- Delayed capillary refill – when you push on the skin, it turns white and should immediately change back to pink. When it stays white, this is severe dehydration.
- Extreme weakness
- Stumbling and unable to walk
Using Caution in Summer Months
Do not allow your dog to get overheated in the summer months. Dogs will keep chasing a ball until they fall over from heat stroke. It is up to you to regulate their activity and keep plenty of water where they can get to it in the summer months. A kiddie pool filled with water will help them take a dip and cool off as well.
Watch for signs of being too hot and if you suspect your dog is dehydrated, you may use Pedialyte to help them get rehydrated.
Dogs should have water available at all times, even when on a walk with you, you should have a bottle of water for them. Take frequent breaks and allow them to drink.
When they are being active they will always need to drink more and when the weather is especially hot, they will also drink more.
If you suspect your dog is having a heat stroke, get them into a cold water bath as quickly as you can. If you can pack ice between their back legs it will cool the blood as it passes through the femoral artery, acting as a radiator to quickly cool the entire body. Seek medical help as quickly as possible but do all you can on the way to bring their temp down as fast as possible.
Normal body temp for a dog is 102.5 and you should seek medical help at 105 and above. Sustained high temperature can cause internal organ failure and brain damage. It is exceedingly important that no dog be left outdoors in extreme heat and should never be left in a situation without water and shelter from the sun.
Dogs get sick and sometimes contract viruses and infections that weaken their immune system. They may suffer fever, diarrhea, and vomiting which will all drastically dehydrate them and will also deplete precious electrolytes and minerals from their system.
Even if they are drinking water on their own, supplementing their water intake with Pedialyte is a very good idea. This will ensure that they are replenishing the vitamins and minerals they are losing rapidly.
Definitely, see your veterinarian as soon as you suspect your dog is ill. The underlying issues need to be sorted out and determined. Your dog may need antibiotics or other medication but starting them on Pedialyte will help them to get through most anything.
Even Parvovirus, which is a known killer, most typically kills the animal from the severe dehydration that they suffer. The sickness alone isn’t the killer, it is the dehydrated state of their bodies that cause the body to quit fighting and shut down.
The animals who have the best fighting chance are the ones that are given early intervention, fluids, and protein pastes to keep giving them some calories while their body fights the illness.
When you use Pedialyte, you should use the clear, unflavored version. Some dogs may be allergic to the flavorings.
A typical serving of Pedialyte is 1/8th of a cup each hour for small dogs and up to 1/4th of a cup per hour for large dogs. Don’t exceed these amounts if you can help it because you could cause an electrolyte imbalance that causes the kidneys to be overworked and this isn’t good when your dog is already fighting an illness.
Even if your dog seems to be doing better with the Pedialyte, don’t skip the visit to the vet. They can spiral downward very quickly and it can be avoided by making a quick trip to the vet for diagnosis.
Many Reasons for Dehydration
There are many reasons that a dog can get dehydrated and many illnesses that will do it very quickly. Some things to be wary of with dogs are:
- Salmonella infection
- Kidney disease
- Heat stroke
And any other diseases that can cause diarrhea and vomiting will dehydrate your dog. Start Pedialyte as quickly as possible and continue it until you see your veterinarian. You may notice that diabetes and kidney disease are listed. These can be an auto-immune disease that your dog has developed and must be tested for. Diabetes is known for making the patient thirsty constantly.
Know your dog, watch for drinking excessive amounts of water. This is a clue that there is an issue going on with them. Call the vet and make an appointment as quickly as you can be seen. Undiagnosed or treated diabetes will lead to death.
When Your Dog is Unwilling to Drink
Sometimes your dog is so sick and lethargic that he has no interest in trying to drink on his own. Perhaps he is simply too weak to do it. Using a large syringe, draw some Pedialyte up into it, without a needle attached to it.
Gently pull their cheek out away from their teeth and it forms a funnel. Slowly drip some fluid in their cheek and hold their chin up in the air, perhaps propped on your leg. Go slowly, waiting for them to swallow. You may rub their throat and encourage them to swallow so they don’t aspirate.
Your veterinarian can also give IV fluids and they can do what they call SubQ fluids, which means subcutaneous fluids. For this, they run a needle under the skin of the back, near the shoulders, and they force by squeezing, an IV bag full of fluid under the dog’s skin so they can go home with water that will be absorbed as the body needs it. They look like a camel until the fluid is absorbed by the body. This can be lifesaving. It also allows them to go home with you where they are most comfortable.
If Your Dog Isn’t Eating
Dogs can go a day or two without food and be fine but if they are sick, they need to be getting enough calories to help their body fight their illness. The body is working hard to fight illness and is using calories. You can help to replace these by using a high-calorie protein paste from your vet or a feed store.
Simply squirt some paste on the gums of your dog and let it slowly dissolve and be swallowed. Some of it will absorb through the skin under the tongue and be used by the body quickly, providing much-needed energy to help them fight.
Don’t try to force food on them other than the paste. Use it and get water and Pedialyte into them as much as you can. When they regain their strength, they will begin accepting food more willingly and when they stand up and drink from a water bowl on their own again, you’ll know that they are winning their battle with their sickness.
You may have to be their nursemaid for a few days and it will be hard. You may have to carry them outside or use potty pads if they can’t get outside. They may have diarrhea that is very watery and not be able to stand to go outside. They will depend on you at this time, but they can live through it and get better if you keep them hydrated, no matter how sick they are.
Dawn Greer is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.