Signs and Causes of Puppy Dehydration

As a pet parent, you’ll do anything for your puppy. You make sure he’s got the best food and toys, you take him to the vet regularly, and you spend hours just watching those ears perk up and those eyes sparkle. But while there are plenty of things new dog owners should know about their puppies, dehydration is a surprisingly common one that many people don’t recognize until it’s too late.

Causes of Puppy Dehydration

Dehydration in puppies can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Age. Puppies are more susceptible to dehydration than adult dogs because they don’t have the same capacity for storing water as older pets do.
  • Excess heat or cold. If you live in an environment that is too hot or too cold for your breed of puppy, it may become dehydrated more quickly than others—especially if you don’t provide them with enough shade or water.
  • Being sick or injured. Dogs who are sick (or even just recovering from surgery) sometimes experience excessive thirst because their bodies need increased amounts of fluids to heal properly. This can lead to dehydration unless extra steps are taken by pet owners such as providing their pooch with plenty of cool drinking water throughout the day and night.

Common Signs of Dehydration in Your Puppy

If you believe your puppy is dehydrated, look at the following signs:

  • Lethargy. Is your pup acting like a zombie? They’re likely to be lethargic and weak if they’re dehydrated.
  • Drinking less and urinating more. You’ll want to check if this is happening with your dog by taking note of how much they drink throughout the day and how often they go outside to urinate (especially if both are happening). If so, take note of when it started happening—if it’s been ongoing for several days or more, there’s a possibility that dehydration could be the cause.
  • Sunken appearance. A puppy who has been neglected or abandoned may look significantly worse for wear than other puppies. It’s important not only that we show compassion towards these pups but also offer them proper care in order for them to recover as quickly as possible!

Treatment at Home for a Young Dog’s Dehydration

  • Feed a high-quality diet that’s balanced and packed with nutrients.
  • Give the puppy electrolyte fluids if you think it needs them. You can purchase these at pet supply stores and online, or ask your vet to prescribe them for you.
  • Make sure the puppy is drinking enough water, as dehydration can cause kidney damage over time. If you think your puppy isn’t getting plenty of fluids, talk with your vet about possible options for increasing its intake such as administering subcutaneous (underneath skin) fluid administration by mouth or under the skin (subcutaneously).

If your concerns aren’t alleviated after taking these steps, bring your dog in for an exam by a veterinarian


There’s no reason to panic, but you need to act quickly. Dehydration can be fatal if left untreated, especially in puppies and young dogs. Fortunately, your puppy can recover from mild to moderate dehydration at home with proper treatment. Just make sure you get them the water and electrolytes they need, and monitor their condition closely for a few days after treatment. If your puppy is still showing signs of dehydration after 24 hours or so, contact your vet again for further advice. Once your puppy recovers from dehydration, it’s important to take steps to prevent it from happening again in the future by making sure their water bowl is always filled with fresh water!