Labrador Retrievers and Dehydration
Labrador Retrievers are expected to carry out lots of roles. Common working roles for Labrador Retrievers include hunting, tracking and detection, assistance dogs for disabled, carting and therapy wor...
Labrador Retrievers are expected to carry out lots of roles. Common working roles for Labrador Retrievers include hunting, tracking and detection, assistance dogs for disabled, carting and therapy work. With all these roles, it is expected that they will be more exposed to heat and various illnesses. Too much exposure to heat, especially during summer can cause dehydration in Labrador Retrievers. It happens when there is an excess loss of bodily fluids making the total body water less than the normal. Dehydration does not involve loss of water alone but also loss of minerals such as sodium, chloride and potassium. These minerals are called electrolytes.
Dehydration is a serious problem in dogs. Aside from exposure to heat, it can also occur because of illness such as fever or just a lack of fluid intake. Because they lack sweat glands, dogs pant to keep themselves cool. Panting can lead to dehydration if the fluid is not replaced.
To check if your dog is dehydrated, watch out for his skin elasticity. In dehydrated dog, the skin does not return to normal position quickly when lifted. Slow capillary time is another indication of dehydration in dogs. To check his capillary refill time, firmly place your index finger against the gums until they appear white. Remove your finger and check how quickly the blood returns to the gums. It will take more than three seconds for the blood to refill or return to pink state when a dog is dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration include lethargy, depression, sunken eyes and increased heart rate.
If you see signs of dehydration in your dog, give some water immediately. But water is not enough to treat dehydration. Visit your veterinarian immediately for body fluid replacement. These fluid replacements are usually administered through injection. Electrolytes can also be replaced with hydrating solution. But take note not to allow your dog to take in large amount of water at once as this will result in vomiting thus losing fluids further.
It is easy for dogs to become dehydrated but it is also easy to prevent dehydration. The best way to prevent it is to ensure that your dog has plenty of water available. Leave at least two bowls filled with water at all times. Place these bowls in various spots in the house if the dog is free to wander around. During summer or if you live in a dry climate, keep the dogs indoors as much as possible.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Cussons writes articles about Labrador Retrievers and other dog breeds. Discover tips on training Labradors at labradorsavvy.com.