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.
About Pet First Aid
This First Aid Guide was developed by the veterinary staff at Dr. Sherry Weaver's Animal Hospital of Towne Lake in Woodstock, GA. Always seek veterinary care following first-aid attempts. Your veterinarian is the best source of information for your pet’s specific needs. This information is provided for general reference and informational purposes only and should not be construed to be formal professional advice or the formation of a consultant-client relationship.