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There's nothing quite as refreshing as gulping down a bottle of cool, refreshing sports drink after working out or taking a hike on a hot day. Although you could certainly share a few sips of a sports drink that doesn't contain artificial sweeteners with your pooch, water is a much better option to refresh your pet if it is healthy. There are some situations, however, when electrolytes for dogs are advantageous. Use commercial or homemade electrolyte water tailored for a dog's chemistry for the best choice.
The problem with sports drinks
Sports drinks commonly consumed by humans are formulated with lots of sugar, salt and other ingredients that aren't the healthiest choice for your dog. You see, unlike humans, dogs don't lose salts when they sweat; the vapor they lose from panting primarily consists of water.
Because they don't lose salts, introducing additional amounts through a human electrolyte formula could result in sodium ion poisoning, especially in smaller dogs. Vomiting is a common symptom of the condition, causing more loss of hydration. Other signs include overall weakness, diarrhea, trembling, and seizures.
Added sugar in sports drinks can also draw more water out from your dog's body, worsening a case of dehydration you're trying to cure with the electrolytes. Although using Pedialyte for dogs contains less sugar than most sports drinks, it contains a higher amount of sodium as well as the artificial sweetener Ace-K, which has been linked with cancer in pets.
Electrolytes for dogs?
Rather than suffering from low levels of electrolytes, dogs can develop symptoms such as cardiac arrhythmias from elevated levels in the bloodstream. Diseases such as cancer, kidney disorders, or inflammation can elevate calcium, phosphorus, and other electrolyte levels in the blood, making it a dangerous game of roulette to add electrolytes to your dog's liquids. However, dogs with diarrhea can lose sodium and carbonate, but an electrolyte formula is best administered by your dog's veterinarian intravenously.
The best way to rehydrate
Working dogs, such as search and rescue dogs, police dogs and hunting dogs that spend hours at a time in extreme heat or cold can benefit from a rehydration solution for dogs. A 2016 study by the Urban Search and Rescue Veterinary Group found that dogs who were offered a chicken-flavored rehydration formula throughout the day consumed more liquid than dogs presented with plain water and increased their performance times after a full day working in hot conditions.
If your pet works in extreme conditions or is sick, encourage your pet to drink more water with a flavored water enhancer. Nulo Hydrate Flavored Dog Water Enhancer tastes like beef brisket and delivers electrolytes tailored for dogs, branched-chain amino acids for muscle recovery, and B vitamins for energy. The squeeze bottle is easy to take on the trail and add 2 to 4 squirts to your dog's water bowl.
Dog dehydration home remedy
Diluted chicken broth makes the best dog dehydration treatment for home use. Simmer chicken with its bones for 1 hour. Remove the chicken for another recipe and refrigerate the liquid. When fully cool, remove the layer of fat on top, strain and pour into ice cube trays. Store the frozen cubes in an airtight container in the freezer and add one or two to a bowl of your dog's water. In the Urban Search and Rescue Veterinary Group study, dogs tended to drink more than three times as much liquid when it was chicken flavored. Ramp up the broth's flavor by adding carrots, celery, and other dog-friendly veggies to the mix during the cooking phase. Be sure to change the broth liquid in your dog's bowl daily and clean it thoroughly before refilling.
Taking it on the road
If your dog is one of those that refuse to drink when you're on a hike or away from home in general, pop a few of these cubes into a stainless steel container reserved especially for your dog. Add water, and you'll have a cool, refreshing dog dehydration treatment your dog is sure to lap up. Some dogs have an aversion to drinking from unfamiliar bowls, so serve the treat at home in your dog's travel bowl. She'll learn to equate the container with the special liquid treat.