When it comes to spotting the signs of dehydration, adults are typically better informed and independent enough to recognize warning signs on their own, while younger children and pets tend to need some assistance in this area. The hottest days of the summer could be the most dangerous for your children and pets. It is important to keep a close eye on them and be aware of the red flags.

What causes dehydration?

Loss of water through sweat, tears and urine will typically cause dehydration, if not replaced by drinking fluids and eating foods which contain water. Illness could also cause dehydration due to vomiting, fever or diarrhea. Children who are overexposed to the sun and are not drinking enough water are especially susceptible to dehydration.

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

The most common symptom of dehydration is thirst. Thirst is a sign your body needs hydrating. Other symptoms are less-frequent urination, dry skin, fatigue, headache, light-headedness, dizziness, dry mouth, increased breathing, and so on. Symptoms vary from person to person, so it is important to listen to your body. In pets, look out for excessive panting, less-frequent urination and lethargy. If they aren’t acting like their usual selves, they could be dehydrated.


If caught early, dehydration can be treated at home with a pediatrician or veterinarian’s guidance. They may instruct you to give your child or pet certain foods or liquids for simple rehydration. For moderate to severe dehydration, IV fluids may be necessary to re-hydrate the body more quickly.

How can dehydration be prevented?

Dehydration can be prevented by drinking fluids consistently during the day, especially when working or playing in the sun. A simple rule is to take in more fluids than you are eliminating. For example, 1 cup of water is not enough if you are urinating 8 or more times a day. For infants and young children, drinks such as Pedialyte will help maintain electrolytes during heat exposure or illness.

What to avoid:

  • Never leave children or pets unattended in hot cars
  • Do not allow activities in the sun to go on without water breaks in the shade
  • Avoid caffeine and salty snacks, as they increase dehydration
  • Don’t give up on trying to hydrate your kids and pets. If your children refuse to drink, provide an alternative such as watermelon or freeze Pedialyte into ice pops. Dogs love to chase around ice cubes on the kitchen floor as it is an activity for them. If they won’t take water, make fun treats for them when spending time outside!

Dehydration could cause quite a scare. We hope you will take these suggestions into consideration to avoid an emergency and make this summer fun! For more information on this topic, click here.


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