Can Dogs Have Pedialyte?
Now that we have reached a point where most of us are not constantly facing starvation, nutrition has become much more complicated. Throughout much of history, our ancestors considered anything that was even slightly edible to be a valuable source of energy—they were less worried about antioxidants, Vitamin C, and salt, and far more worried about supplying their bodies with enough calories to stay alive. Today, calories are a given for many of us. We are not concerned about being able to get enough calories, and now we have to worry about the details of what is in our food and drink.
Though many of us have learned to fear liquid calories, there are certain beverages we have learned to rely on during times of illness. Pedialyte, a fluid replacement beverage, is one of them. We know we can drink Pedialyte to help support our bodies through a bad stomach bug, but can we give this beverage to our pets? Can you give your dog Pedialyte?
The answer is yes, dogs can drink Pedialyte. Though this beverage falls in the ‘medicine’ category for many of us, it is not the same as, say, Tylenol. Unlike Tylenol, Pedialyte does not contain anything that is likely to be immediately poisonous to dogs. Pedialyte can come in handy if your dog is sick or very dehydrated. That said, this beverage is not quite harmless, either—giving electrolyte replacement drinks to any dog who is not sick or dehydrated is not recommended. If your dog’s body is already balanced, they should not drink anything that is high in electrolytes.
So, when would you want to give your precious pooch Pedialyte? This electrolyte beverage is not designed for regular consumption—it is designed to rehydrate the body after it has been seriously depleted by vomiting or diarrhea. It works the same way for dogs, too, so you would only want to administer this product to your dog if they were suffering from dehydration.
What does dehydration look like in dogs? What causes dehydration? In most cases, your dog’s body will be depleted due to an illness that includes symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. It is important to monitor the contents of your dog’s water dish when these symptoms set in to see if they are drinking enough fluid to replace what they have lost. If your dog is sick, they may also start to refuse water, which only exacerbates their problem. A nauseated dog, much like a nauseated toddler, does not care about what is ‘good for them’—if they feel sick to their stomach, you will have a hard time getting them to eat or drink anything!
After a couple bouts of vomiting or diarrhea, your dog may begin to show symptoms of dehydration. These symptoms often include things like heavy panting, extreme fatigue or laziness, slow and sluggish movements, dry eyes, nose, and mouth, and sunken eyes. Ideally, you would head off your dog’s dehydration before these symptoms set in, but it’s better late than never. If your dog has been vomiting and appears to be dehydrated, it can definitely be a good idea to offer them some Pedialyte.
Things to Consider
There are several different Pedialyte products with slightly different formulations, so dosing can be tricky. Pedialyte products that are already diluted will often be safe to give to your dog as-is. Others, which are stronger, should be diluted with water before serving to your dog. Around a half cup of diluted Pedialyte administered every hour or two will be sufficient for most dogs weighing roughly 50 pounds.
When administering Pedialyte, stick with water. You may be tempted to mix this electrolyte beverage with fruit juice or sugary drinks to try to sneak them calories, but these high-sugar beverages will often worsen their vomiting or diarrhea. Even low calorie options which use artificial or zero-calorie sweeteners can worsen your dog’s condition. Unless your veterinarian recommends otherwise, only give them Pedialyte and water to drink. If you are concerned your dog is not getting enough calories, you can try to feed them mild foods such as pumpkin, rice, or oatmeal.
Pedialyte can be very helpful for mild to moderate dehydration, but if your dog’s condition is severe, it should not be treated at home. If your dog’s symptoms persist or worsen, or if you suspect that they have Parvo or food poisoning, take them to the veterinarian for emergency care. Severe dehydration, which often requires intravenous fluids and other support, can cause permanent organ damage and even death.
Overall, this electrolyte solution is a great option to keep in your canine’s first aid kit. Pedialyte, which is nontoxic, can help replenish your dog’s electrolyte stores during times of sickness and dehydration. To keep your pet healthy, dilute before serving. If your dog’s symptoms do not improve, take them to see the veterinarian. If their dehydration is severe, it can be life-threatening.