Pedialyte is a well-known treatment for dehydration in humans but what about Pedialyte for dogs? You may be wondering—can I give my dog Pedialyte? If so, how much Pedialyte is considered the right amount to treat dog dehydration? And even if the treatment is safe for use in dogs, yet another question springs to mind—is Pedialyte actually good for dogs? Let’s take a closer look at Pedialyte treatment to find out how it works and how you can use it to help your pooch recover when they’re feeling under the weather.
What is Pedialyte?
Pedialyte is a rehydration mixture used for treating dehydration. It’s composed of sugar and electrolytes. Mixed with water, Pedialyte can be ingested to replenish fluids, minerals, and nutrients that have been lost, usually due to vomiting and diarrhea. Pedialyte for dogs comes in a few different forms—premixed, powdered (which you mix with water yourself), and as freezer pops.
A Brief History of Pedialyte
Pedialyte was first distributed in the US in 1966 when it was introduced as a ready-made rehydration solution. Pedialyte has a long history as a well-known trusted brand of oral rehydration solutions produced by Abbott Laboratories. Initially, Pedialyte was used to treat dehydration in children but is also suitable for adults.
Treating Dehydration – What Science Says
For around 60 years, oral rehydration solutions—mainly composed of salts—have been used to treat dehydration. Over the years, scientists have learned more about the correct ratio of salts required to achieve the best outcome. These days, premixed preparations like Pedialyte are by far the most popular choice, as they ensure a person receives the correct proportions of salts and sugars.
Pedialyte for Dogs – Is this Treatment Suitable for Dogs?
Pedialyte for dogs was not originally designed with dogs in mind. However, since it is so effective in treating mild to moderate dehydration in children, it has since been used for treating this condition in adults, as well as dogs!
The use of oral rehydration salts for dogs suffering dehydration has been studied and Pedialyte solutions were found to be safe and effective. Oral rehydration solutions can also save dog owners money since they are significantly cheaper than IV fluids, which usually involves a costly stay at the veterinary clinic. However, problems can arise if your dog will not accept the treatment.
The same study found that 65% of the dogs voluntarily consumed the oral rehydration solution, but the remaining 35% did not, and had to be given IV treatment instead.
How Does Pedialyte Work?
Like most rehydration salt mixtures, Pedialyte for dogs is made up of sodium and sugar. Sugar and sodium are transported together through the small intestine. The presence of glucose (the type of sugar used in oral rehydration solutions) promotes the absorption of sodium ions and water in the small intestine. It is vital that the illness or condition causing your dog’s dehydration is diagnosed and properly addressed.
Although, in many cases, dehydration may actually be the cause of fatality and not the illness itself. Therefore, finding an effective way of treating the dehydration in your dog is vital.
Can I Give My Dog Pedialyte Without Seeing the Vet?
While Pedialyte will not harm your dog and can be bought without a prescription, you should take your dog to the vet to determine the cause and degree of dehydration. Your pooch may need additional treatment to recover from dehydration, particularly if it has been caused by a serious underlying condition.
Dehydration in Dogs – Why Your Vet Needs to Know
Dehydration is most often the result of vomiting or diarrhea and symptoms may be caused by an underlying virus. However, your dog may also become dehydrated due to inadequate fluid intake while suffering from a fever, serious illness, or heat stroke. For instance, symptoms of a parvovirus—an infectious and potentially lethal virus—include vomiting and diarrhea, and this type of infection must be treated promptly. So how do you know if your dog is dehydrated?
How to Determine If Your Dog is Dehydrated
If your dog is dehydrated, their skin will lose elasticity. So, one way to check for dehydration is to pull the skin up around your dog’s neck. Normally, your dog’s skin should spring back into place, but if not, your pooch may be dehydrated. Another sign to look out for is a dry mouth. If your dog is dehydrated, their saliva will be thick and sticky with a tacky mouth.
In severe cases and later stage dehydration, your dog’s eyes may appear sunken. Also, your dog may go into shock and could potentially collapse. This is an emergency situation and your dog will need to go to the vet immediately. However, even if your dog displays only the early visible signs of dehydration, you should take your dog to the vet. Your dog’s condition could deteriorate rapidly without a proper diagnosis and treatment. But what about using Pedialyte as a potential treatment?
Dog Dehydration – Pedialyte as a Treatment
While Pedialyte freezer pops may not a good idea for a sick pooch low on energy, it’s up to you whether to purchase a premixed drink or powder to mix yourself. If you decide to purchase Pedialyte powder, be sure to follow the directions carefully so that you make up the correct ratio of salts and sugars to water.
Can I Give My Dog Flavored Pedialyte?
Pedialyte comes in different flavors. But, are these suitable for your dog? Yes! Some dogs may not be too happy about drinking Pedialyte so you may want to try different flavors. You never know, bubblegum-flavored Pedialyte might just save the day. Who would have thought?
Are There Any Pets Where This Treatment is Contraindicated?
There are no known contraindications for the use of oral rehydration therapy on dogs.
Pedialyte Dosage for Dogs
How Much Pedialyte should I give to my dog? The following doses are meant to be used as a guide only. For more help with dosage, it’s best to consult with your dog’s vet. Precisely how much Pedialyte is required to treat dog dehydration can vary from case to case. Your dog may also require other types of treatment to recover fully. In general, 2 to 4 mL of Pedialyte solution per pound of body weight per hour is recommended. However, this may vary depending on what your vet diagnoses.
Giving Pedialyte for dogs may be a challenge, and if your dog has been unwell, you may need to start with a small amount at first. Liquids are best administered using a plastic syringe (without the needle). Simply insert the syringe into your dog’s mouth between the molars to deliver the solution. For smaller dogs, an eye dropper may also do the trick, but it’s best to avoid glass. If your dog bites down on glass you will have a whole new emergency on your hands!
It’s best to slowly dispense the Pedialyte solution into your dog’s mouth while giving them time to swallow. Don’t try to dispense the entire amount in one go since you may end up with a mess!
Pedialyte for Dogs – Warnings and Other Important Information
Be aware, in case your dog is diabetic, Pedialyte does contain glucose. If you’re worried, talk to your dog’s vet.
Should You Give Pedialyte to Your Dog?
A pooch experiencing a bout of vomiting and diarrhea will be a worry to you and most definitely no fun for your dog. So, it is vital that you know the best way to get your dog back on their feet and feeling fine. Using Pedialyte for dogs as directed by your dog’s veterinarian is one way you can help your furry friend feel better after a bout of the runs.
Has your dog experienced dehydration? Have you ever given Pedialyte to your dog? Please leave your comments below.
References and Further Reading
Pedialyte (company website) ‘What is Pedialyte?‘
Snyder JD, 1982. From Pedialyte to popsicles: a look at oral rehydration therapy used in the United States and Canada. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Reineke EL et al. 2013. Evaluation of an oral electrolyte solution for treatment of mild to moderate dehydration in dogs with hemorrhagic diarrhea. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Fordtran JS et al. 1968. The Mechanisms of Sodium Absorption in the Human Small Intestine. The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Munos MK et al. 2010. The effect of oral rehydration solution and recommended home fluids on diarrhea mortality. International Journal of Epidemiology.
Goddard, A., Leisewitz, A.L., Canine Parvovirus Vet Clinics Small Animals, 2010
Eldridge DM et al. 2007. Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook. Wiley.
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Diana again, I also give her Psyllium husk every day.
After six months of vomiting and reccuring bloody diarrhea, along with the typical antibiotic protocols including Tylisin (which she completely rejected), I stopped all treatments other than diet. I began giving her Unflavored Pedialyte and feeding her a homemade diet gradually integrating a single protein kibble to full kibble. The results were mindboggling, with several problems resolved. Not only did her recurring diarrhea vanish, but skin and fur issues improved.
Even though the vet saw her every year, her skin and fur issues were usually addressed with medicated shampoo and antibiotics once or twice a year. I always suspected either a zinc deficiency, pancreatic disorder, or hormone problem. Happy she is better, especially energy wise, than she has been in three years. She is an eleven year old Labrador. I still give her Pedialyte every day, about 2-3 teaspoons in water.
I have a senior arthritic dog. Can I give her Pedialyte the rest of her life? She can’t stand up to drink anymore, so she is dehydrated. She refused water and at this point I don’t want to stress her by making her take the water. she loves Pedialyte diluted in water. I just don’t want to hurt her but she has to drink!! Help! Is Pedialyte ok to give long term?