7 Signs of Dehydration in Dogs

With summer on the way, it’s very, very important to make sure your canine pal always has plenty of fresh, cool water. Dehydration is extremely dangerous for dogs! Fido can’t exactly go to the fridge and grab himself a cold drink, so it’s up to you to know the warning signs. A Raleigh, NC vet lists some of them below.


Panting is one of the earliest—and most obvious signs—of dehydration in dogs. Because dogs can’t sweat to cool themselves off, they regulate their temperature by panting.

Dark Urine

This one isn’t always easy to see, since Fido generally relieves himself outdoors. However, if you notice that your pet’s urine seems dark, give him some water immediately. If the issue persists, contact your vet.


It never ceases to amaze us how expressive dogs are. Fido may give you and adorable ‘smile’ if he’s happy. If he isn’t feeling well, his face will also show it. Dehydration can also make your pup’s eyes look sunken. He may also look a bit tired.


A dry mouth and nose can also indicate dehydration in dogs. Thick drool is another red flag.

Skin and Fur

If Fido is dehydrated, his back may feel warm to the touch. Dehydration will also affect your pet’s skin elasticity. Pinch a small amount of his skin. If it takes more than a moment to return to its original position, your pooch may be dehydrated.


Fido may stagger or lurch as he walks, and he may seem dizzy, tired, or disoriented. Some dogs may also whine or bark.

Tummy Troubles

Dehydration can also cause vomiting or diarrhea. The reverse is also true here: vomiting and diarrhea can contribute to dehydration. In any case, contact your vet if your furry buddy has these signs.


If you see any of these symptoms, immediately give Fido some cool water and contact your vet for further instructions. Of course, it’s best to circumvent dehydration by making sure your pooch always has clean, fresh water. Clean your dog’s water bowl daily to keep bacteria and dirt from building up. If your pup doesn’t seem to be drinking as much as he should—or if you just want to give him a treat—add some sodium-free broth to his bowl.

Please contact us, your Raleigh, NC vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!

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