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Is My Cat Dehydrated?

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Your cat requires about four ounces of water for every five pounds of body weight. That fluid needn’t come in the form of water. Wet food and snacks are equally valuable sources of fluids. Cats don’t experience the same level of thirst other creatures do, so they’re particularly prone to dehydration, which can have serious health consequences.

As a cat owner, it’s essential that you know the signs of dehydration. Continue reading to learn more about the symptoms, causes, and risks associated with dehydration in cats.

The Causes of Dehydration

Like humans, cats dehydrate due to vomiting and diarrhea, but they’ll develop severe symptoms far faster in comparison. Some diseases can contribute to the problem. Hyperthyroidism, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes can all cause fluid imbalances.

Lethargic cats tend to reduce their water intake, so it’s crucial to remain alert to this problem if your pet is ill. If your cat has dental issues, they might eat and drink less. Even cats need their pearly whites taken care of, particularly if they suddenly stop eating or drinking.

Diuretics will lead to dryness, so if your cat is taking them for heart disease, pay close attention to their fluid intake. Cats who roam are less likely to maintain adequate fluid intake due to lack of access.

If your feline spends most of their time away from home, a wet food diet is suggested. Trauma, heat stroke, and fever are three more contributing factors. Take extra care of your cat on hot days.

The Dangers of Dehydration

Cat dehydration can become a medical emergency within hours, so it’s best to visit an emergency vet if you see symptoms. Early signs of dehydration include:

  • Panting
  • Sinus and mouth dryness
  • Tacky gums
  • Constipation

As dehydration progresses, the symptoms will become more pronounced. Severe dehydration leads to:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • A loss of appetite
  • Skin tenting

That last symptom is an excellent way to check for dehydration, so vets often rely on it.

You can check for tenting by gently drawing a small section of your cat’s skin upward from the shoulders. If your cat is well-hydrated, the skin will return to normal immediately. In dehydrated cats, it will stay in the tent position. If this is the case for your cat, it’s time to visit an emergency vet.

How Dehydration Is Treated

Your cat needs to sustain a balanced fluid and electrolyte level, so oral water consumption is rarely enough. Your pet might require intravenous fluids and hospitalization. Vomiting and diarrhea will need to be addressed with medication.

Once your cat has been discharged, your vet might ask you to administer fluid injections.

How To Improve Your Cat’s Hydration

If your cat has minor dehydration due to an obvious cause that isn’t linked to an illness, you can try a few tricks to encourage them to take in more fluids. The simplest way is to serve wet cat food rather than kibble, but this won’t provide your cat’s required daily water intake. You can encourage drinking by adding tuna juice or chicken broth to their water.

Cats are fussy drinkers, so exchanging a bowl for a fountain could help.

Schedule a Visit With Germantown Vet

Dehydration is a severe condition in cats because they can’t survive if they lose over 15% of their fluid. It’s best to bring your best friend to Germantown Vet for proper care. We’ll develop a customized plan for treating your pet’s dehydration. Our vets and live-in veterinary nurse will care for your cat around the clock.

Call our friendly team at 240-252-7467 or request an appointment online.

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