There are some questions you just can’t imagine yourself asking until you become a pet parent. Your dog is more than just a pet, it’s part of the family.
That means you’re probably willing to do anything you can to keep them healthy and happy. Sometimes, life calls for extreme measures.
So, what’s the verdict, can you give a dog Gatorade?
Gatorade helps replenish minerals and electrolytes since it contains sodium and potassium and is safe for dogs in small amounts. But due to its sugar content, water is still a better and healthier liquid for dogs.
When it comes to hydration, there’s more needed than water. Hydration means putting back in what we lose like electrolytes. While Gatorade certainly contains more than just water, it’s not a “miracle” drink, especially when you consider the price.
Can Dogs Drink Gatorade?
Can you give a dog Gatorade? The short answer is yes, but behind that yes lies a lot of complicated reasoning and extra facts that are important to know. First and foremost, if you have given your dog Gatorade in a moment of desperation when you noticed dehydration, do not worry.
Gatorade is not toxic to dogs.
They will not be sick if they drink a bit of Gatorade after having a day of diarrhea. It seems logical for humans to give dehydrated dogs Gatorade. That’s what we would reach for, right?
It’s important to remember, however, that a dog’s system does not work in the same way as yours does. While Gatorade won’t do any immediate damage, it is not the ideal remedy for dehydration.
Your dog food likely contains the same electrolytes that gatorade does, so if your doggie still has an appetitie, water and their food will likely replenish whatever they’ve lost.
Tips For Giving Your Dog Gatorade
So, while you may be tempted to pour some Gatorade into your dog’s bowl if you see signs of dehydration, you may want to think twice about that decision. Gatorade is not toxic and will not cause immediate harm to your dog. But over time, the effects of Gatorade can add up.
The risk of giving your dog Gatorade is dependent on it as a solution for dehydration. Gatorade contains high amounts of sugar and sodium.
While human bodies can handle these substances fairly well, dogs have smaller organs that are not equipped to handle the same quantities.
Not only are the sugar and sodium contents high in Gatorade, but if you look closely at the label, you’ll see that there are many chemicals in the drink. You’ll probably find that you’ve never even heard of some of them!
Overall, Gatorade is not the best option for treating a dog’s dehydration.
They may like the flavour and lap it up when they’re dehydrated, but there are healthier ways to replenish your furry friend.
Dehydration in Dogs
Just like humans, dogs can get dehydrated. All mammals need an adequate amount of water to keep their bodies functioning, dogs included. Dogs need water to keep their joints lubricated, regulate body temperature, flushing waste, transporting nutrients and more.
Water is always lost over the course of a day. What matters is whether your dog is able to replenish their water supply and retain it. When water levels are too low to cover the needs of daily activities, other fluids from your dog’s body pick up the slack.
This leads to the loss of electrolytes like sodium, chloride, and potassium. These electrolytes play an important role in many of your dog’s body processes including muscle function. Dehydration is not something to be taken lightly.
It can lead to the failure of organs like kidneys and even death if left untreated.
Here are the symptoms to look for in your dog to identify dehydration:
- Loss of appetite
- Dry nose and gums
- Lethargy or reduced energy levels
- Sunken, dry eyes
- Loss of skin elasticity
You will be able to see some of these symptoms clearly, just by looking at your dog. Others, like skin elasticity, will require that you check your dog’s status. To check your dog’s skin elasticity, pinch their skin between your thumb and forefinger.
If your dog is well-hydrated, the skin will bounce back to its original position. If your dog is dehydrated, the skin will take noticeably longer to get back into place.
You can prepare yourself by doing a skin elasticity check at a time when you’re sure that your dog is properly hydrated. That way, you will know what is and is not normal for your dog’s skin.
Another symptom you can check is dry gums. A dog’s gums are normally very moist and even a bit slimy. If your dog is dehydrated, the gums will feel dry and sticky. While you’re checking your dog’s gums, go ahead and observe their capillary refill time.
To do this, you will simply press one finger into your dog’s gums and remove it. A hydrated dog’s gums will appear white for a second and immediately turn pink again.
If your dog is dehydrated, it will take longer for the pink colour to reappear.
How to Treat Dehydration in Dogs
If you find that your dog is dehydrated, collect yourself and get ready to take action to replenish the water and electrolytes they need to function well.
If you’re really set on giving your dog some kind of electrolyte drink, you’re much better of going with coconut water for your dog. These drinks are made with less sugar and sodium than Gatorade and contain much more of the good stuff.
If your dog reaches a level of dehydration where they are unable to keep down any fluids you are giving them, it is time to visit the veterinarian. Your vet will assess your dog’s condition and decide what course of action to take.
The most effective way to treat dehydration is by placing a dog on a drip. This is likely the first thing your vet will suggest if dehydration is severe.
Another common method is to administer fluids under the skin to form a camel humped shape. The fluid will then be absorbed over the course of a few hours. This method is suitable for mild dehydration only.
The amount of time a dog can go without water depends on the breed but is not more than a few days. If you see that your dog is dehydrated and has stopped drinking, take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Make sure that your dog always has fresh and clean water available to them to prevent dehydration.
Dehydration can turn into a serious issue when left untreated. It may be a reflex to reach for the Gatorade when you see that your dog is having diarrhea or seems a bit under the weather, but it’s not necessarily the best choice in the long run.
Whatever you do, make sure Gatorade doesn’t become a regular treat!