By Dr. Sherry Weaver
If you are concerned that your dog may be dehydrated, pull on the skin at the back of the animal's neck. It should spring back into the normal position immediately within one or two seconds. If there is a delay, the animal is dehydrated.
Very old and very skinny animals are difficult to assess in this manner because skin loses some of its natural elasticity with age and malnourishment. It is also more difficult to assess dehydration in obese animals. In these circumstances, feel the gums. If they feel dry and sticky, the animal is probably dehydrated. If the animal is drooling, gums may feel moist despite dehydration. Dehydrated animals must be taken to a veterinary hospital for treatment immediately. If you aren't sure whether your pet is dehydrated, the safest option is to take your pet to the veterinarian for examination.