Homemade Solution for Dehydrated Dogs

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: July 13, 2020
Homemade Solution for Dehydrated Dogs

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Dehydration is a condition that can occur in dogs that eliminate more fluids than they ingest. While restricted water access is a factor, it is commonly an issue which is the result of a wide variety of illness. Far from being a trivial matter, dehydration can be a veterinary emergency. In severe cases it endangers the animal's life. To address this condition properly and as soon as possible, it is important that dog guardians learn to recognize situations in which dehydration can occur. We also need to know the symptoms that indicate a low level of body fluids.

Treatment is usually straightforward, unless it is a severe case of dehydration). At AnimalWised, we provide a practical guide on how to make a homemade solution for dehydrated dogs, as well as providing some general information on when or if it should be administered.

You may also be interested in: My Dog's Mouth is Dry

Causes and symptoms of dehydration

As mentioned above, dehydration occurs when the liquids eliminated from the body far outweigh the liquids ingested by the animal. This elimination can occur more obivously in the form of urination, defecation and even saliva. However, water is also used for maintaining every aspect of the dog's body. Without it, or with too little, all bodily functions can cease.

When the dog is ill, other factors affect hydration of the dog. Vomiting and diarrhea, as well as elevated temperatures, can increase the likelihood of becoming dehydrated, especially if they have heatstroke. When a dog has diarrhea and vomiting at the same time, we need to be particularly careful. Since vomiting often means the dog cannot hold anything in their stomach, they may not be able to drink any more water to rehydrate.

Typical symptoms of dehydration in dogs include:

  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Dry gums/pale mucus membranes
  • Dry tongue
  • Depression
  • Lethargy

Another sign that should raise alarm is increased capillary refill time. When you press your dog's paw pads and it takes a long time to return to its previous color, this indicates a decrease in blood supply. The same can be seen in the mucus membranes of the dog's mouth. You can take a look at our article on the signs of dehydration in dogs to see a more detailed explanation of the symptoms.

Why should dehydration be treated urgently?

Loss of body fluids leads to a electrolyte loss. Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals that are present in blood and other fluids, which play important roles in the body, such as regulating our pH and numerous other chemical reactions. These

Electrolyte loss can lead to a change in pH balance as well as an alteration in multiple chemical reactions within the dog's body. Given that chemical reactions are central in physiology, a loss of electrolytes can lead to a serious state of imbalance within the body, which can be fatal.

Rehydrating the dog requires not only the replenishment of water, but the important electrolytes (also known as salts) which it has missing. You can purchase electrolyte solution at pet stores and pharmacies. Pedialyte is a common brand which is available in oral solution. Ideally you should have Pedialyte or other solution brands at home in case of emergencies

If you do not, our step-by-step method provides the equivalent of a dog Pedialyte recipe which you can make at home. Also bear in mind, even respected brands such as dog Pedialyte have a shelf-life, especially once they are opened.

Homemade Solution for Dehydrated Dogs - Why should dehydration be treated urgently?

Homemade solution to treat dehydrated dogs

Oral rehydration solutions that are also suitable for our pets can be found in pharmacies (check with the pharmacist and your vet first). If you'd rather make your own homemade solution, you'll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 litre of natural mineral water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 small teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 small teaspoon baking soda
  • The juice of half a lemon

It's very simple to make:

  • Boil a litre of water in a deep pan.
  • Once brought to the boil, turn off the heat and pour it into a heatproof container (not plastic).
  • Add all the ingredients and stir well.

This solution should replace the dog's water. It only has a 24-hour stability period so it should be thrown away the following day. However, it is easy enough to make again.

How to administer oral rehydration solution for dogs

When you have created the oral solution to treat your dehydrated dog at home, you will need to let it cool before you can give it to your dog. If the dog is able to drink on their own, you can give it to them by simply filling their normal water bowl with the rehydration solution. The dog should then drink and receive the benefits.

If the dog is weak from illness, you may be able to give the solution to them with a syringe. Fill the syringe (without a needle) and squirt it slowly into the dog's mouth. You can rub their throat to help stimulate swallowing, if necessary.

In situations where they dog will not drink or keep any of the rehydration solution down, we are facing a veterinary emergency. We need to take the dog to the veterinarian where they will be able to administer their own solution intravenously. They will also be able to carry out any of the necessary treatments to help the dog regain their strength. Dehydration which has progressed significantly, will cause the dog's organs to shut down. If not treated in time, it is possible it will be fatal.

Homemade Solution for Dehydrated Dogs - How to administer oral rehydration solution for dogs

Tips for oral rehydration solution for dogs

When you see your dog is dehydrated, giving them homemade oral rehydration solution can help. However, there are many different factors you need to consider. Here are some tips to help you know what to do:

  • There are many canine diseases which can cause dehydration, so it is imperative that you take your dog to a vet for a thorough examination.
  • Home treatment with an oral re-hydration solution does not substitute the supervision of a veterinarian.
  • If symptoms of dehydration are severe and the animal is severely affected, you should go to the vet urgently. In severe cases, fluid replacement is required intravenously.
  • If your dog does not drink the solution, you should go to the vet who will be able to offer alternative re-hydration treatment.

For more general symptoms of sickness in dogs, including dehydration, take a look at this AnimalWised video below:

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Homemade Solution for Dehydrated Dogs, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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My dog love eating snails how can I stop this
Hello. Is the lemon safe? I always thought they were dangerous to the GI tract of dogs. I appreciate the answer, I want to give this solution to my dog. What’s the lemon supposed to do for a dehydrated dog?
Your recipe for a home made electrolyte saved my dogs life. She crashed from dehydration after a wicked bout of diarrhea late last night. I missed the warning signs. I syringed what I will forever call the magic potion at intervals for 24 hrs, until she could stand again and drink on her own. Tonight, 30 hrs later, she is back. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this information.
It was difficult to find what I was looking.
My dog doesn't want to eat ang she is vomiting a water. What should i fo ?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Mae,

You will need to take him to the veterinarian for diagnosis as this is a symptom of various problems, some of which are very serious.
Hi! My 2 month old puppy is showing signs of parvovirus. And is dehydrated. But we can't go to any vet because of the coronavirus lockdown. We are not allowed to leave home what should we do? We are very worried.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Camille, have you called them for advice?
michelle dunn
very informative
Administrador AnimalWised
We're glad to help!
Noeleen Warren
I think my dog has got catflu at this moment, its so bad she pied blood last night, can she still be safed from it?
Administrador AnimalWised

You will need to take your cat to the vet to confirm. Blood in urine is a serious symptom, so you will need to take appropriate measures.
How do I insert the homemade fluids into my dog
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Jamey,

This is an oral hydration solution, you should not try to administer IV fluids to a dog if you do not have the right equipment and don't know what you are doing. You will have to try to administer it to your dog orally. It is not ideal, but this is why it is an emergency solution to combat dehydration. You can tilt their head back to help encourage swallowing and close their mouths over once you have poured some of the fluids in.
Neelam Sonii
My pug dog not eating nowadays weight very loose
Hydration problem. Tell me may he recover
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Neelam, if you are worried about your dog's health, we recommend taking them to the vet. While we can't diagnose a problem, not drinking water can be a sign of a severe issue.
anna mae matios
my dog feels pain on her side stomach, what ca i do to treat the pain?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Anna Mae,

If your dog has pain in its side, it could be due to many medical issues, not necessarily dehydration. It is very important for you to take them to a vet to gain a diagnosis and provide the correct treatment for the issue.
Carl Buick
Solution calls for "small teaspoon." a teaspoon is a teaspoon...there is no "large teaspoon," or "medium" teaspoon. Perhaps you mean "level teaspoon?"
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