Tips: Avoiding dehydration out on the trail

Your tough mountain dog or rugged desert mutt may be tough as nails but there is one thing that all animals need and its water and being properly hydrated out on the trail, cause maintaining a constant fluid intake is as important in dogs as it is in humans.  Here are a few tips that I follow to keep my pups happy, cool and hydrated out on the desert or mountain trails.



  1. Hydrated before hitting the trail, make sure your dog has fresh clean drinking water at home.
  2. Hike early in the morning or at dusk when the sun isn’t as intense and its cooler out.
  3. Destination not all dogs have then same fitness level so remember to take that into consideration how far you hike.
  4. Frequent breaks in the shade to check for exaggerated panting and gums.
  5. Plenty of fresh drinking water
  6. Trails near water (I like to hike near stream, rivers and lakes this gives the dog the opportunity to drink and also cool off in the water)

Beginning signs of dehydration

  • Visibly tired
  • slowed pace
  • excessive panting
  • changes in attitude
  • eyes appear sunken and lack moisture
  • dry mouth, gums and nose

Intermediate signs of dehydration

  • Skin loses elasticity
  • delayed capillary refill time- (place index finger firmly against gums so that they appear white. Remove your finger and see how quickly blood returns to gums, the time it takes for gums of a dehydrated do to return to pink will be noticeably slower then normal.)

Final Signs of dehydration

  • Weak hind end
  • Wobbly and unsteady on their feet

More Tips

  1. Dogs loose a lot of water while panting, remember to take a lot of breaks and allow your dog yo drink plenty of water.
  2. If your dog is very thirsty give water slowly. Allowing your dog to over drink after a dry spell could upset your dogs stomach and your dog could vomit, which will only dehydrate your dog more.
  3. Don’t Allow your dog to drink excessively after a strenuous exercise.
  4. After the strenuous exercise, allow your dog a minute to calm down. Then allow small but frequent amounts of water every few minutes.
  5. If signs of dehydration are present, giving your dog electrolytes mixed in his water will help replenish a lot of nutrients that were lost during his exercise.
  6. If your dog is so over heated and can’t hold down water, allow him ice chips to eat or lick.
  7. If your dog is refusing to drink for an extended period of time it is time to go to you vet or emergency vet immediately.

Bonus Tip

Check out dog cooling vests, they help with keeping the dogs core temperature from rising which helps the dog not pant as much *remember dogs loose a lot of water when panting.


** I am not a vet, if you have a emergency remember to go to your vet eminently.

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