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Does my dog need an electrolyte drink?

May 2022

When we think of dehydration in our dogs, we immediately think of an electrolytes solution, and that these need to be replaced as quickly as possible, especially if fluids are being lost faster than they are replaced.  There is much said that this would be true in the first instance, but should they be part of your dog’s daily hydration routine?

How can I encourage my dog to drink more?

We all know water is king when it comes to hydration and that it should always be readily available.  However, as an owner what is the best thing to do when the dog isn’t drinking enough water or is refusing to drink?  Well simply put to add flavour to help push those fluids, such as a tasty Furr Boost or bone broth.  Access to water is also key by scattering bowls of water around the house and garden so it’s easy for your dog to reach, especially on those hot and mauling days.

Why is hydration important?

Dogs, much like people, require water to ensure their bodies are working properly. Water is so important, in fact, that essentially all bodily functions require it to remain healthy and operative. If your dog loses more water and electrolytes than they are taking in, they will begin to dehydrate and their health will deteriorate.

It’s important to understand that dehydration in your dog can lead to kidney failure, unconsciousness, and even death in extreme cases.

But what are Electrolytes and their function within the body? 

Electrolytes are minerals that naturally occur in both humans and dogs, and they are essential for proper health. Electrolytes, comprised of sodium, chloride, and potassium, facilitate the movement of nutrients into cells, aid in muscle function, and help regulate nerve activities.

Are Electrolytes needed in your dogs water daily?

If your dog has a balanced diet, takes in their fluids (we recommend 50ml per Kg of body weight) and isn’t Suffering from heat exhaustion or loosing fluids faster than they are being replaced, then there is an argument that these are not needed, as your dog is getting all the nutrients it needs from its diet.  On those hot days you may be tempted to use an additive. However, there have been some reports of dogs having diarrhoea after consuming an electrolyte supplement in water. Especially in dogs with sensitive tummies, even small changes away from what they are used to can lead to some negative consequences.

When should I consider using an Electrolytes supplement:

There is absolutely a place for drinks containing Electrolytes, especially if your dog takes a turn for the worse and has started to show signs of dehydration, these are most commonly spotted by:

  • The loss of elasticity in your pup’s skin. To test this, simply pull lightly on their skin. If it doesn’t return to its original position quickly, your dog is potentially experiencing dehydration.
  • Another sign of dehydration is xerostomia, this is the loss of moisture in your dog’s gums, causing them to become dry and sticky with thick, pasty saliva.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Panting
  • A dry nose
  • Sunken eyes or they might collapse if they enter shock, in extreme cases.

Can I avoid dehydration in my dog?

By following the advice on keeping your dog hydrated and encouraging them to drink more, then dehydration can be avoided.  If you are having problems with encouraging your dog to drink more, then fluids can be added into your dogs diet by using a product such as Furr Boost as either; a topper over their food, make popsicles as a frozen treat, or follow the feeding guidelines and add extra water to ensure they are kept topped up.