Pedialyte for Dogs
If your dog has had a horrible bout of bad stomach, maybe you’ve heard your vet mentioning electrolytes and thought, what about Pedialyte for dogs?
Pedialyte is an oral electrolyte solution initially developed to combat dehydration in children. Some types of Pedialyte may help our dehydrated furry friends, helping them replenish lost fluids and essential electrolytes, but the evidence is primarily anecdotal. So what to think about Pedialyte for dogs? Keep reading to find out!
Is Pedialyte Good for Dogs?
Can dogs have Pedialyte for dehydration? The quick answer is yes. In small quantities, dogs can drink Pedialyte, just like humans, and it is one of the few things you can give your dog to drink – besides water.
But Pedialyte and similar solutions should be used with care and is not a one-fits-all treatment.
Also, if your dog suffers from severe dehydration, you should seek immediate veterinary care as more thorough methods are needed to help combat the dehydration. Pedialyte and similar products will not be enough. In cases of severe dehydration, intravenous fluid and additional supportive therapy are necessary.
If your dog is suffering from mild dehydration, you can offer it some Pedialyte if you believe it will make it more likely to drink. Currently, there’s no evidence to suggest that Pedialyte is dangerous for dogs. That said, there isn’t any evidence that Pedialyte is particularly useful in treating mild dehydration in dogs – compared to water.
In some cases, Pedialyte can make a condition worse. For example, your dog is vomiting; adding a sugary and mineral-filled drink can be pretty tough on the stomach, causing it to vomit further instead of retaining the water as wished.
Suppose you worry your dog is getting dehydrated, no matter the cause. In that case, you must contact a veterinarian to help prevent dehydration from worsening and diagnose and treat the underlying cause.
How to Dilute Pedialyte for Dogs
If you wish to give your dog Pedialyte it can be helpful to dilute it as too much can be difficult for your dog to stomach. Pedialyte only contains small quantities of sugar, but it may be enough for some dogs to really enjoy it, causing them to drink too much, which isn’t beneficial either.
Dogs should drink no more than 100 ml per kilo body weight per day – or roughly 1.5 oz per pound of body weight per day. These measurements determine whether a dog drinks too much due to a disease, but it can still be helpful as a rule of thumb.
How Much Pedialyte for Dogs?
Pedialyte produced for dogs doesn’t exist; therefore, no Pedialyte for dogs dosage chart or similarly helpful tools exists. If you give your dog Pedialyte, the ideal Pedialyte dose for dogs is as little as possible. Remember, if your dog needs excessive amounts of Pedialyte, a veterinarian should assess it instead.
Your dog should receive no more than 8 oz (240 ml) per day as excessive intake of electrolytes can, in the best case scenario, be unnecessary and, in the worst, be dangerous. You can always seek guidance from your veterinarian on the Pedialyte dose for dogs.
Can Dogs Have Pedialyte for Dehydration?
Although mild dehydration can be uncomfortable and make your dog tired (lethargic), it is unlikely to be dangerous. Severe dehydration, on the other hand, can lead to severe conditions and even death.
Professionals estimate dehydration on different parameters evaluated during a physical examination, for example, skin elasticity, dry gums, and weak pulse, along with factors unique to the individual animal like age, sex and body weight.
When a dog is suffering from diarrhea or vomiting, it will lose fluid. Still, more importantly, it will also lose electrolytes like sodium, chloride, and potassium – which will make your dog ill.
If your dog is suffering from mild dehydration due to diarrhea, you can attempt to offer it some Pedialyte if it is otherwise healthy and still willing to eat and drink. If your dog is vomiting, you should not give it Pedialyte.
What Does Pedialyte Do for Dogs?
Electrolytes have a positive or negative charge when placed in fluid and are vital for the body. Electrolytes assist the body in a range of functions, including regulating chemical reactions and maintaining fluid balance inside and outside the cells. Without electrolytes, the body cannot function properly.
Luckily, a healthy body is very good at retaining its electrolytes. We humans can lose quite a lot of them through sweating, but this is a minor concern for our dogs, as dogs do not have secretory sweat glands all over their bodies like us. So electrolyte loss is mainly a concern in sick dogs.
Pedialyte is a fluid containing water, electrolytes (sodium, chloride, and potassium), and some sugar and citric acid to improve the flavor.
If a dog has lost a lot of fluid, you can replenish some partly by adding them to the water a dog is drinking, which is what Pedialyte aims to do.
Risks Associated With Dogs and Pedialyte
Pedialyte is not a veterinary product; it is initially intended for babies and is not FDA-approved. Therefore the risks and possible associated side effects are not known.
That said, most veterinarians agree that providing a dog with Pedialyte seems to be minimal risk. The sodium levels in Pedialyte are slightly higher than the recommended dose for dogs but are unlikely to cause any long-lasting harm. In a healthy dog, the electrolytes that aren’t needed will be transported out through the urine.
Some dogs may be allergic to some components in Pedialyte, but there’s no scientific evidence on the incidence rate.
If you feel your healthy dog will benefit from receiving Pedialyte, there’s unlikely to be any untoward reactions towards it.
Causes of Canine Dehydration
Dehydration occurs when your dog is experiencing a lack of fluid. Due to increased fluid loss in dogs, this commonly occurs due to vomiting or diarrhea. Vomiting and diarrhea have many relatively benign causes, like intake of bacteria through water, intestinal parasites, or similar.
A more dangerous condition that can lead to excessive vomiting and dehydration is pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas. It is not advisable to use Pedialyte for dogs with pancreatitis. It is a dangerous condition and needs veterinary treatment. Attempting home remedies can worsen the condition and worsen the prognosis.
Besides losing fluid through different routes, dehydration can also happen due to insufficient intake. A situation where your dog simply isn’t drinking enough. Often this occurs due to underlying diseases making your dog nauseous.
What to Do if Your Dog is Dehydrated
If you are worried your dog is significantly dehydrated, it is crucial to seek veterinary care. We humans can choose not to drink, and children especially can forget to drink, but dogs are generally more tuned in on their needs. If they are thirsty, they drink.
There are, of course, situations where your dog can get dehydrated without it necessarily being a medical emergency. Here’s our advice and rule of thumb:
Lack of Water Available
If your dog dehydrates due to a lack of water – maybe they toppled their bowl – the first thing you should do is offer it clean, fresh water. If a dog has been without water for a while, it may attempt to gulp it down to quench its thirst. Remember to offer the water in more minor but frequent quantities. In this case, electrolytes are unlikely necessary.
Lack of Fluid Intake
If your dog is dehydrated because it refuses to drink, it could be due to nausea or other pathological (abnormal) causes. If your dog is still drinking, but in smaller quantities, you can attempt to offer it more flavourful water – for example, Pedialyte for dogs.
Pedialyte or water can also be given directly into the mouth via a syringe. Just be very careful not to inject it too fast, as it may get into the lungs.
If your dog continues to refuse water (>24 hours), you must seek veterinary care immediately. It may be a relatively easy fix, but it is essential that your dog starts drinking again, sooner rather than later.
Increased Loss of Fluid
If your dog is losing fluid and is therefore dehydrated, you can attempt to offer it plenty of clean, fresh water, Pedialyte, or something similar. However, if you suspect your dog is dehydrated (e.g., lack of skin elasticity), you need to seek veterinary care immediately.
Attempting to treat dehydration at home can be very risky. If it’s only mild dehydration, offering water, Pedialyte, or dogs, or giving it via syringe, can be enough. However, in some cases, it will not be enough and can lead to some waiting too long before seeking veterinary care for their pets.
Our best advice is to contact a veterinary professional if your dog is ill rather than attempting to treat it at home first. In many cases, your vet will be able to evaluate your dog’s condition over the phone and guide you towards the best cause of action – either coming in for a physical examination or attempting home remedies first.
Canine Pedialyte – Our Recipe
As we’ve already discussed, the evidence for using Pedialyte for dogs is limited. However, sometimes a veterinarian will recommend trying to increase your dog’s water intake at home, whether with an electrolyte solution or by adding taste to fresh water.
Below is a recipe for one way of adding flavor to water that may increase your dogs’ drinking. Please note this is not an electrolyte solution nor a substitute for one. If your veterinarian recommends an electrolyte solution, we advise that you buy one from your veterinarian or a pharmacy.
Time: 15 minutes
Serving Size: 4 cups (1,000 ml)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Nutritional Facts/Info per serving/in total:
- 58 calories
- Water measure
- 4 cups (1,000 ml) Water.
- 1 tablespoon Dextrose or Honey.
- 1 teaspoon Salt.
- Pour 4 cups of water (1000 ml) of water into a pot.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Add 1 tablespoon of dextrose or honey.
- Add 1 teaspoon of cooking salt.
- Stir the solution in a pot until it dissolves.
- Remove from heat and allow it to return to room temperature.
Electrolytes are essential for the day-to-day life of our best friends, and running low on them can be pretty dangerous. In simple cases of dehydration, Pedialyte for dogs can be beneficial. Just remember always to seek advice from a veterinarian if you are worried your dog continues to get dehydrated – to ensure a speedy and thorough recovery!
Catharina is a Veterinary Medicine student from Uni of Copenhagen. When she isn’t making camp in the library, stuck to the books, she’s also a writer and avid photographer. Capturing everything from buildings to dogs – especially her poodle Bailey is a frequent subject.