Experienced parents are all too aware of the existence of Pedialyte. This electrolyte drink is excellent for treating and preventing dehydration in incidences of diarrhea and vomiting in humans. Have you ever wondered about the safety and efficacy of Pedialyte for dogs?
Can I Give My Dog Pedialyte?
Pedialyte is safe for dogs if your vet has recommended it. It’s used mostly to help prevent severe dehydration due to vomiting or diarrhea and to aid with electrolyte balance in dogs with kidney disease. Pedialyte consists of chloride, sodium, and potassium, which are quickly depleted when a dog is expelling more fluid than they’re taking in.
How Much Pedialyte Can I Give My Dog?
It’s important to stress that Pedialyte isn’t a viable home treatment for dehydration; it’s simply something to keep your dog stable until you can get them to a veterinarian. Any time your dog is vomiting more than three times a day and/or not drinking, they need to be seen and treated by a veterinarian. Oral fluids are not the best choice for dehydration; your dog will fare much better with IV or subcutaneous (under the skin) fluids.
The proper dog dosage depends on how large they are, but how dehydrated your dog is also plays a role. Simple dehydration can be helped with 1 part Pedialyte versus 1 part water. There isn’t an exact dosage because your dog’s level of dehydration combined with their size are important factors in regards to how much you’ll give. Pedialyte seems harmless, but if you throw your dog’s electrolyte balance out of control with too high of a dose, you’ll be causing more harm than good.
However, most vets recommend a 1/8 cup every 60 minutes for small dogs. Larger dogs can have 1/4 cup every 60 minutes. This is a dosage best suited for dogs who aren’t drinking water at all or they’re having severe vomiting. Again, this should be given to hold your dog over until you can get them to the vet and not as a form of home treatment. Always discard any unused Pedialyte after 48 hours to prevent bacterial growth.
Signs of Dehydration in Dogs
Dehydration is very serious. True dehydration isn’t just being really thirsty after hard exercise. Dehydration occurs when there is excess fluid loss, like vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog is truly dehydrated, you’ll notice some fairly alarming symptoms. Your dog’s eyes will appear sunken and dry. Their nose and mouth will be dry and have almost no moisture. Their skin turgor will be greatly decreased, too. In a dog hydrated dog, when you pull up on their skin, it will immediately return to normal.
In a dehydrated dog, their skin will remain tented. If you press on their gums, the pink color should return in less than three seconds. Any longer means your dog needs to get to the veterinarian immediately.
Can Pedialyte Fight Parvo?
If you do an internet search for “parvo virus treatment”, you’ll find a bunch of blogs and websites saying you can effectively treat parvo virus at home with Pedialyte. This is not true. Parvo virus is a disease that attacks your puppy’s intestinal lining, causing the intestinal lining to die. This causes severe bloody diarrhea that rapidly dehydrates your puppy’s developing body. Dogs with parvo should not be given anything by mouth until their diarrhea and vomiting have all but disappeared.
Parvo is only safely treated in a veterinarian’s office with IV fluids and antibiotics. If you try to treat parvo at home with Pedialyte, it’s very likely your puppy is not going to make it.
What Can You Give Your Dog for Diarrhea and Vomiting?
If your dog has a slight bout of diarrhea and your vet hasn’t seen any major causes during their examination, then you can treat the diarrhea at home. Pumpkin is a good source of fiber that absorbs any excess water in the stool, essentially drying out the stool until it becomes normal again. Plain yogurt can also help diarrhea because it reintroduces essential bacteria (probiotics) back into the gut.
When your dog is vomiting and your vet hasn’t noticed any significant causes, they’ll send you home with strict instructions to not give your dog anything by mouth for about eight hours and then feed them a bland diet for the next three days. A bland diet consists of plain rice and boiled chicken or ground beef.
Dehydration isn’t something you should play around with at home. True dehydration can cause organ damage and even death if it’s allowed to progress. If your dog is showing any signs of dehydration, get them to your vet immediately, don’t just give your dog pedialyte. They can help you develop the proper treatment plan to ensure your dog is rehydrated quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are electrolyte levels important in dogs?
Electrolyte levels are very important in dogs as they regulate nerve conduction, heart muscle contraction, and maintain adequate hydration status. Electrolyte levels are one of the first things checked in dogs who come into veterinary offices in an emergency setting. They are also incredibly important in dogs with endocrine disorders like Addison’s disease or diabetes. Severe electrolyte imbalances can be life-threatening.