Dry Gum Tissue
Here's a simple way to see if your dog is in need of fluids. Run your finger over your dog's gums. If the gums feel a bit slimy, you have a hydrated dog. If the gum tissue isn't slimy, your dog is dehydrated and needs to drink.
The technical method is to check the capillary refill time on the gums. To do this you need to find a base refill time. When your dog is hydrated, pull the lip up and press your fingers firmly against the gums until the tissue appears whitish. Time how long it takes for the gum tissue to return to pink. This is your base time. After a run or while your dog is playing, check the gums again. If the color looks gray or takes a long time to return to pink, then your dog is dehydrated.
How To Get Your Dog To Drink
It's true, not all dogs will drink water even if they need it.
Entice your dog to drink water to create a habit. Tricks are the best to train dogs. Use a treat to attract your dog's nose to the water bowl. Drop the treat in the bowl and as your dog takes a little water in while going for the treat, say the word "drink."
If your dog likes ice cubes, you can do the same trick. Drop the cubes in the bowl, which will require your dog to drink as he or she tries to nab it. Ice cubes are such a sly, yet successful way to encourage your dog to drink more.
Another quick fix: add a little beef bouillon to the water mixture. Lab-type dogs can't help themselves. They'll drink in the hopes of food appearing!
Eventually this will become a habit. You can slowly phase out the treat by offering it sometimes and not having it others. With enough repetition in training, your dog will learn to drink on his own.
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