Dog Dehydration
Home Treatment to Save a Life

Severe dog dehydration will kill. In case you can't get to the vet, here's how to test and treat dehydration at home to save your dog's life.

You see every organ in the body must have water to function so without it, they will shut down.

Even if you get to the vet after your canine has been dehydrated for some time, the organs can be permanently damaged.

Dog dehydration is usually a result of both vomiting and diarrhea. In fact when a dog has Parvo, it isn't the disease but the resulting dehydration that kills.

I'm posting this page again because I got a wonderful email from a women who swears reading this page and using the treatment saved her dog's life. So please keep this page, print it or do whatever you need to be sure you have it on hand in case of emergency.

Canine Dehydration Test

This simple, yet effective test is easy. Gently grab the skin on top of the neck.

For a small dog, use your thumb and a finger. For large dogs use your whole hand.

Pull up until the skin is tight but not painful at all to your pet. Now let go. If it springs right back, he is fine.

If it goes back into place slowly, its time to do it again and count. No need to pause between numbers. Count at a normal pace or count by seconds.

Honestly its pretty easy to tell, at least if you have a short haired dog because when you grab up that skin it stays looking that way when you let go for just a second.

None of my dogs have ever been more than a 3, in which case I made them a healthy broth to give them back some salt and nutrition. I call this healing broth and you can find it at Fasting for Health and Healing Dogs. While bone broth is better, it takes at least 24 hours for a good batch to be completed. There's a good recipe at the DNM Website.

Then I keep testing a few times a day to make sure we're getting back on track. If the dog is throwing up still, see Treatment for Vomiting.

If you get a 6 and your dog is lethargic, for heavens sake he needs help right now. Any of us will die from dehydration before starvation, so please take this seriously.

If you can't get him to the vet for an IV or want to do something right now, here's what you need to do for emergency care.

Dehydration Treatment

Give your dog an enema. Yup, I said enema. While we think about this for constipation, here's why it helps cure dog dehydration.

When a dog keeps vomiting, he or she loses vital fluids and salts. By giving warm water with salts via the rectum, it gets absorbed through the tissues of the colon.

I know what you might be thinking, but this is no time to feel squeamish about putting something in your dog's butt. This can literally save his life.

The reason I'm writing this page is I had a call from my nephew. His dog hadn't eaten in a few days and he was really worried. I had him do the dog dehydration test and it was bad. About an 8. I explained it wasn't food she needed but fluids.

He was too uncomfortable to do the enema and I was too far away to do it for him. While I'll never know the cause, his dog died the following day when he finally got her to the vets.

Please pay attention to your dog. There are lots of tips at Basic Dog Care with what to look for.

Giving an Enema for Dog Dehydration


  • One pint (2 cups) pure water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or table salt for a second choice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon potassium chloride (sold as a salt substitute at the grocery story
  • Warm the mixture about the same as a baby bottle and test on the wrist.

Amount and Tools Needed:

  • One dose for a very small dog is about 2 tablespoons
  • One dose for a large dog is up to one pint
  • Plastic or rubber syringe, or
  • An enema bag and nozzle with large dogs

Here's how:

First, lubricate the end of the syringe or nozzle with vegetable oil and, while someone else calmly and gently holds the dog while it stands on the ground or in the bathtub, insert the nozzle carefully into the rectum.

With gentle consistent pressure against the anus, so that the fluid doesn't leak out, slowly fill the colon. If the solution doesn't flow in readily, it could be that the syringe is up against a fecal mass. In this case, you'll need to pull back on the nozzle or syringe and adjust the angle a bit.

Since dehydrated animals will retain the fluid, you can give an enema every 2 - 4 hours until the fluid is no longer retained. You can do the dog dehydration test above to double check.


If you want to read about Parvo symptoms or what to keep on hand to cure viral and bacterial infections, head over to Parvo Symptoms. That page will also explain why you should NEVER FEED a dog with severe diarrhea.

Canine Antibiotics

  Dog Dehydration to Basic Dog Care

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Important Notice

I sell NSP (Nature's Sunshine) herbs and supplements for your dog. While these are strictly tested and made for human consumption, I am the only one in the United States successfully using them for dogs for over a decade now.

To get proper doses for your dog you must purchase through me. I've spent a great deal of time learning the right combinations and doses per weight for your canine kid.