Is Pedialyte a safe treatment for my dehydrated dog? (2024)

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If Pedialyte is safe for humans, isn’t it safe for my dog?

Currently, there is no scientific research showing that Pedialyte is any more helpful for a mildly dehydrated dog than just plain water. It’s important to know that giving your dog Pedialyte risks making them feel even worse, so always talk to a vet before giving your dog any medication or over-the-counter treatments including Pedialyte.

If your pet is sick, especially if they’re having symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhea, less energy, weak, or difficulty standing, you should call your nearest vet to have your pet examined so that appropriate veterinary treatment can be given.

Dogs experiencing dehydration develop imbalances in their electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride. Vomiting and diarrhea, for example, often cause a loss of electrolytes, while dogs with heat stroke or heat exhaustion often have higher than normal levels of these electrolytes in which Pedialyte could actually worsen their symptoms. If your dog can drink fluids and is not vomiting, plain water is recommended and is a much safer choice over Pedialyte.

What is Pedialyte?

Pedialyte is an electrolyte solution used for children or adults with symptoms of mild diarrhea or dehydration. It helps add electrolytes and fluids that are lost from diarrhea. This helps a person with mild dehydration feel better.

But remember, Pedialyte is made for humans, not for dogs. Because Pedialyte is formulated for humans, it contains higher levels of sodium than dogs need and also contains sugar - both of which can be harmful to dogs, especially if they are senior dogs, pregnant or nursing/lactating dogs, have other conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or other conditions that make them more sensitive to increased sodium and sugar levels.

What causes dehydration in dogs?

If you suspect your dog is dehydrated, you should contact your vet or the nearest pet emergency hospital. Dogs become dehydrated from continued vomiting and/or diarrhea, being active in extremely hot weather, or from being sick with a fever. Dogs with diabetes can become dehydrated when they have too much sugar in their blood, causing them to urinate a lot. Increased panting, which is how dogs manage their body temperature when they get too hot, can also lead to dehydration.

Severe dehydration left untreated can lead to severe conditions including kidney failure, abnormal heart rhythms, and even death.

Dogs experiencing mild dehydration often recover quickly once they’ve taken in enough plain water.

When dogs become severely dehydrated, drinking water or Pedialyte will often not be enough to rehydrate and stabilize their condition. Often, if they have signs of vomiting or diarrhea, continuing to offer Pedialyte will stimulate them to continue to vomit which further dehydrates them, making their condition worse. Your vet will determine what’s causing the dehydration and give any necessary medication along with fluid therapy to relieve your dog’s symptoms and help them recover.

What can I do if my dog is dehydrated?

Of course, you want to help your dog and relieve their symptoms, but in some cases, home remedies (such as Pedialyte) which delay veterinary care, can actually worsen the symptoms.

Once your dog has been assessed by your vet, they will make recommendations for the best way to rehydrate. In mild cases, the vet may recommend Pedialyte or another electrolyte solution or rice water. Rice water helps especially in cases of dogs experiencing frequent diarrhea. While it doesn’t have any electrolytes, it does help firm loose stools. Always follow your vet’s recommendations regarding how much and how often to give these options to your dog.

For moderate dehydration, your vet may opt to treat the dehydration with fluid therapy under the skin, also known as subcutaneous fluids. The type of fluid used depends on your dog’s condition and diagnosis and often has a blend of sterile water, dextrose (a type of sugar), and balanced electrolytes. When given under the skin, the fluid is absorbed slowly over several hours. For dogs with chronic conditions such as chronic kidney disease, owners can learn how to give fluid therapy subcutaneously at home.

How much water is normal for my dog to drink?

In general, healthy dogs need about an ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. If they are experiencing fluid losses, such as vomiting or diarrhea, their water intake should increase to keep up with these demands.

Home Remedies for Dehydration in Dogs

In some instances, you can make your own fluid replacement solution to help rehydrate your dog. Note that it’s recommended that you only give fluid replacement solutions to your dog on the advice of your vet. If your vet recommends giving your dog an electrolyte fluid replacement, you can purchase the solution at your vet’s office or make your own using the following recipe:

Recipe for electrolyte fluid replacement for dogs:

  1. Mix 4 cups of water + 1 tablespoon dextrose or honey + 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Bring the water to a low boil and add the dextrose/honey and salt. Stir until it dissolves. Remove from heat. Allow the solution to cool to room temperature before giving it to your pet.
  3. Offer small amounts of the solution, 1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoon depending on the size of your dog, every 20-30 minutes.

If your dog continues to vomit, has diarrhea, acts weak, or is not responsive to you, or shows other concerning symptoms, contact your vet right away. For an initial assessment, you can schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians using the FirstVet App.

Read more:

Vomiting and Diarrhea in Dogs

Gastrointestinal Diets for Dogs and Cats

Need to speak with a veterinarian regarding your dog’s dehydration or another condition?

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Is Pedialyte a safe treatment for my dehydrated dog? (2024)
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