Dehydration in cats is usually caused by illness or heat stroke and can seriously compromise the health of your pet.
Signs of dehydration
Signs of dehydration include skin that does not spring back when lightly pinched, dry gums, and thick saliva. Since it promotes water and electrolyte retention, Pedialyte is often prescribed by vets to treat dehydration. However, administering Pedialyte to your cat may be a difficult task since your furry friend probably won't be a fan of the taste. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to make the process much less stressful for both you and your cat.
- Do not use Pedialyte as an alternative to veterinary treatment. Dehydration can be a symptom of a serious health condition and should always warrant a visit to the vet.
- If your cat is dehydrated due to heat shock, take her to the vet immediately. Depending on the severity of her condition, your cat may need more intensive treatment.
- Never give your cat Pedialyte without first receiving dosing directions from your vet. If you give her too little, it will be ineffective. Giving her too much can also be detrimental.
Method 1: Mixing Pedialyte into your cat's water bowl.
Administer unflavored Pedialyte to your cat by making a mixture with equal parts of Pedialyte and water and pouring it into her bowl. This is the simplest way to give a dosage of Pedialyte, provided your cat will drink it.
Bring your cat to the bowl and watch her to see if she will drink. Give her a few minutes, but realize that a dehydrated cat will usually be eager for water. If she is very dehydrated and does not drink right away, administer the Pedialyte directly. If it is not an emergency, you may leave the bowl out and check back a few hours later to see if she has ingested any of the mixture. However, don't wait too long before attempting an alternative dosing method.
Recognize that there are several factors that could make administering Pedialyte in this way ineffective. If your cat is severely dehydrated, a more concentrated dose may be required. Also, very sick cats are sometimes unable to ingest fluids. There are also instances where finicky cats may refuse the mixture because they detect the Pedialyte. If your cat is unable or unwilling to consume the diluted Pedialyte, administer a dosage directly.
Method 2: Administering Pedialyte directly.
Draw out the correct amount of Pedialyte using the syringe. This will typically be 2 to 4 milliliters per pound of the cat, depending on the severity of the dehydration. Consult your veterinarian for the correct amount and frequency of dosage.
Take your time administering the Pedialyte. Don't overdo the amount of liquid given at any one time and be sure to give your cat plenty of time to breathe in between. This may take longer, but it will prevent issues like aspiration pneumonia.
Staying highly aware of how much liquid you're giving your cat, slowly place the syringe carefully toward the cheek area. Administer a little and then give your kitty time to breathe. You take a few more seconds to continue carefully holding your cat's neck to make sure they don't spit out the Pedialyte. Continue this process until you've administered an entire syringe's worth of liquid.
Remember to go slowly and be patient. Cats don't love being forced to do anything. And this process will be, understandably, unpleasant for them. But shoving an entire syringe's worth of liquid down their throat and forcing them to swallow it could have even more dire consequences. So little bits of liquid at a time aimed toward the cheek area, and not the throat, will help ensure your cat stays calm.
If you're really having issues with safe syringe technique, there are helpful videos to check out. And, of course, you can always ask your vet for techniques and hands-on help.