While we always want to do what is best for our dogs, especially when they’re sick, Pedialyte is not the solution. Pedialyte is not suitable for dog consumption and can make the situation worse. The best option is to keep unlimited access to plain water available for your dog. If you suspect your dog is sick or dehydrated, please contact your vet. Here’s everything you need to know about Pedialyte for dogs.
What is Pedialyte?
Pedialyte is an electrolyte drink formulated for humans to replenish the minerals and salts lost through sweating, breathing, eliminating waste, etc. These electrolytes are needed to move nutrients throughout the body and help prevent dehydration. This formula is created specifically for the human body, not for dogs.
Is Pedialyte safe for your dog?
Although some Pedialyte formulas are not toxic for dogs, they are not safe for them either. All formulas contain higher levels of sodium and sugar than dogs need to maintain their health. Some formulas contain the artificial sweetener xylitol which is deadly to dogs. Even small amounts of Pedialyte can be unsafe. The best thing is to consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any amount of Pedialyte.
Side effects of giving Pedialyte to your dog
If given to a dog that is vomiting, Pedialyte can actually cause the vomiting to worsen. Using it as an oral electrolyte solution for electrolyte replacement can actually cause a more severe imbalance in electrolytes. Pedialyte can also have prolonged side effects because of its high sugar content such as developing diabetes or heart disease.
Dr. Bruce Armstrong
I generally do not recommend Pedialyte for the aforementioned reasons. In fact, for a vomiting dog, until they are examined by a professional veterinarian, I recommend nothing by mouth. Anything orally exacerbates the vomiting, further worsening the electrolyte and fluid imbalance.
Can you dilute Pedialyte for your dog?
Diluting Pedialyte will not dilute any of the side effects that it may cause. Please do not give your dog any concentration of Pedialyte unless under direct guidance by your veterinarian. There is no scientific evidence that diluted Pedialyte can be used as an alternative to professional help.
When to give Pedialyte to your dog
Pedialyte should only be given to your dog if directed by your vet. Most times, they will recommend a custom formula for an electrolyte replacement. If you suspect that your dog is dehydrated or has been vomiting or has had diarrhea for more than 8 hours, seek veterinary medical attention immediately.
Dr. Bruce Armstrong
There are prescription and OTC ready-made liquids or powders formulated and safe to administer to sick and dehydrated dogs and puppies instead of Pedialyte.
Understanding dehydration in dogs
Dehydration occurs when your dog has lost more water than they have taken in. Although it is more difficult for a pup to get dehydrated compared to humans, it can still happen.
Causes of dehydration in dogs
Because dogs don’t sweat like people do, it’s very difficult for them to lose enough water to be considered dehydrated. Most dehydration in dogs is caused by vomiting or diarrhea that has been prolonged. Dogs are also more susceptible to dehydration if they are infected with the parvovirus or have a fever from another illness.
Signs of dehydration in dogs
There are different ways to tell if your dog may be dehydrated. One early sign is the elasticity of their skin — if it doesn’t bounce back into place after pinching it, your dog may be showing early signs of dehydration. Other signs include:
If your dog is showing the following symptoms of dehydration, they may have severe dehydration and need a vet’s care immediately:
- Sunken eyes
Tips for keeping your dog hydrated
There are ways to keep your dog hydrated that don’t include Pedialyte.
- Keep fresh water nearby — Most healthy dogs will drink when thirsty. If your dog is active, they’ll need more water than normal.
- Use ice cubes — Ice cubes as a treat keep your dog hydrated and cool. They’ll enjoy the crunch, too!
👉 When determining how much water a dog needs every day, a good rule of thumb is one ounce per pound of body weight. If your dog is active, they’ll need more.
If you suspect your pet has mild dehydration, give them clean water in small quantities. Too much water at once may cause them to vomit leading to further electrolyte imbalances.
Frequently asked questions
Will Pedialyte help my sick dog?
There are no scientific studies showing that there are any added benefits for giving your dog Pedialyte. Because of the amount of salts and sugars it contains, it typically does more harm than good.
How much Pedialyte should I give my dog?
Pedialyte should only be given when directed by a veterinarian to do so. Please consult with your vet before giving any amount to your dog.
Is Gatorade safe for dogs?
As another electrolyte replacer that has been formulated for humans, Gatorade should not be given to dogs unless under vet supervision.
What is the best way to treat diarrhea in dogs?
The best way to treat diarrhea is by withholding food for 8 to 12 hours, and keeping fresh water on hand. If the diarrhea has not cleared up by then, consult with your veterinarian as this may be a sign of a serious condition.