In this post, we will be looking at whether you can give Pedialyte to a dog and if it is safe.
Pedialyte is an age-old remedy to rehydrate humans, so it isn’t unusual that many of us wonder whether it can do the same thing for sick dogs. However, not all remedies that are the same for humans are so for dogs, so you’re wise to have searched for the answer before acting.
Often veterinarian care, and medicines, are so expensive that we have to seek home remedies, and any responsible owner, at some time, will question what is safe to give to dogs. We have covered a wide range of home care for dogs, such as homemade dog ear cleaners, as well as a large selection of natural alternatives to veterinary medicine – always under caution.
This guide is all about the safety of Pedialyte for dogs, if it is safe, how to administer it, things to look out for, and when it is time to seek professional medical help.
Pedialyte: What is it?
Pedialyte is an electrolyte solution for treating mild dehydration and diarrhea in humans. It is known to help replenish and rehydrate electrolytes, which reduces the sickness and makes the user feel better.
Similar to Gatorade, Pedialyte can also be used to improve athletic performance and to cure the effects of a hangover. Both drinks provide water, electrolytes, sugar, sodium, and potassium to a body that may be lacking these substances or desires more.
Pedialyte is considered the healthier of the two, as it contains significantly fewer calories and much less sugar than Gatorade. It also has around three times the levels of sodium, a considerably higher amount of potassium, and provides 25% of the Daily Value (DV) for zinc to support your immune system.
People look for these products primarily to curb symptoms of dehydration and diarrhea. So, if your dog has these same symptoms, you may wonder can you give Pedialyte to a dog? Is it safe?
Here is everything you need to know about giving Pedialyte to a dog.
Can Dogs Have Pedialyte?
The very short answer to this is that, yes, dogs can have Pedialyte in small quantities. It is likely safe for your dog to consume a small amount of Pedialyte, but there are many reasons why you should not be giving this to your sick dog.
The first port of call should always be to seek a veterinarian’s advice. If money is tight, The Humane Society has provided some tips to get more affordable veterinarian care in your area here.
You can also look at our advice guides which may prove helpful at times of great uncertainty, but they are not substitutes for actual veterinarian guidance.
The primary reason why I cannot say with conviction that Pedialyte is perfectly safe for dogs is that the science just isn’t there. There have not been any studies, to date, that advocate giving Pedialyte to a dog; thus, there is no evidence to suggest this would be any more beneficial to treat mild dehydration than regular water.
The dangers of giving Pedialyte to a dog are too great. Take a look at the list of ingredients, and question whether you would want these given to your dog:
- Sodium; Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate
- Potassium (Potassium Citrate)
- Citric Acid
- Artificial Flavors
- Acesulfame Potassium
- Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose
- Potassium Sorbate
- Sodium benzoate
- Acesulfame Potassium
Some of these ingredients cause me great alarm as a dog owner. Not only are many of the additives and components associated with food intolerances and sensitive stomachs, but some of the synthetic chemicals – such as Potassium Sorbate – can be toxic to animals, according to the FDA.
What are the Risks of Giving Pedialyte to a Dog?
The main risk is that you could be trying to treat a dog that is in urgent need of medical care. By delaying the treatment he needs, you could end up with a fatally sick dog.
Here are a few reasons why it is best to call your veterinarian instead of using Pedialyte to treat a dog at home.
A Sick Dog Needs a Veterinarian – Not a Drink.
If you recognize that your dog has passed the point of needing water to recover from excessive sickness or diarrhea that has led to dehydration, then you really should be seeking care from a veterinarian.
A veterinarian will be able to rapidly hydrate and rebalance a dog in a much more effective way than any measures you could take at home. In addition, they can also determine the cause of the dehydration, which could be a serious underlying medical issue, such as Cushing’s Disease or Diabetes.
Dogs are similar to humans in that they can catch bugs and viruses that cause physical problems. These problems tend to be very short-term, typically around 24-hours. But, if diarrhea and vomiting have passed this period, then something more sinister could be going on.
Especially for conditions such as Cushing’s Disease, the earlier the treatment, the better the prognosis.
You Could Make a Vomiting Dog Worse
By attempting a home remedy for a sick animal, you could be delaying inevitable veterinarian care, resulting in a much worse prognosis for some dogs. Moreover, giving Pedialyte to a dog that is vomiting and continues to vomit could make the dehydration much worse.
When a dog is vomiting and has diarrhea, it is always best to speak to a vet. It may be that they will simply advise withholding food for up to 24-hours to see if this stops the sickness. But, if there are additional signs such as lethargy, low energy, or a major change to the personality, a vet may request to see the dog.
Most veterinarians would agree that withholding food and restarting with a bland diet would be greatly more beneficial than giving Pedialyte to your dog. If symptoms persist after this advice, then consult your vet again for a follow-up consultation. It may be that additional tests will be needed, such as scans, x-rays, or blood and urine tests.
Pedialyte Was Not Formulated For Dogs
Lastly, Pedialyte was formulated based on a human’s electrolyte balance – not dogs. Most energy drinks have a much higher level of sodium than is considered safe for a dog to consume. High sodium levels can be harmful to a dog, as can the sugar content and other chemicals that we now know to be in Pedialyte.
Should You Ever Give Pedialyte to a Dog?
It has been known that some rescues and shelters that are not able to hospitalize puppies with Parvovirus have administered minimal amounts of Pedialyte to them after a vet has seen them.
It is important to note that I am not suggesting Pedialyte will cure Parvovirus, but it has simply been an element of supportive care historically. It is more usual for puppies in these circumstances to be treated with antibiotics, anti-nausea medications, and additional fluids.
Alternatives to Pedialyte to Rehydrate a Dog
So, you have visited your veterinarian, and they have advised you to withhold food for a period. It is likely that they will suggest new ways to encourage your dog to drink. A dog can lose an alarming amount of fluids due to vomiting and diarrhea, so here are some tips to try that may help to rehydrate a sick dog – that has already been seen by a vet.
Extra Water Bowls
By subtly leaving a few extra water bowls around, your dog may be enticed by the new objects and feel the urge to check them out. Try putting them in different rooms, but ensure that you regularly check them to ensure they’re fresh and full.
I like the Loving Pets Metallic Bella Bowl; it is a small outlay at just over $11, and the stainless steel interior will be easy to keep sanitary.
The PetSafe Healthy Pet Gravity Water Station is more of a splurge buy, but it allows you to keep your dog hydrated at all times of the day or night. This bowl is also made from stainless steel for easy sanitation, and the reservoir is made of durable BPA-free plastic.
If your dog is rejecting water, ice chips can be a great way to begin rehydration. Ice chips give the dog something to chew on, the H20 they desperately need, and a brand new sensation that many dogs will love. Try giving them ice chips throughout the day to see if this perks them up.
Chicken and Rice
If you have been advised to withhold food but are finding that your dog is climbing the walls, then it would do little harm to offer boneless, skinless chicken breasts and a bit of white rice. Chicken and rice are prime ingredients in many healthy dog foods, as these milder foods sit extremely well on an upset canine stomach.
Plain, unseasoned, shredded chicken that has been boiled would make a good snack for a dog who isn’t feeling his best. It is easy to digest and has many essential vitamins, minerals, fats, and amino acids.
Pumpkin is excellent for regulating canine digestive systems. Pumpkin has many nutritional benefits and can help relieve diarrhea because it absorbs the excess moisture and feeds beneficial gut bacteria.
Bone broth is a liquid meal that is very mild, so it can sit easily in upset canine stomachs. It is a delicious and highly nutritious way of adding the much-needed moisture to a dog with mild dehydration and may encourage the return of a reduced appetite.
Baby food is easy to digest and recommended by Veterinarians for dogs in many circumstances. The Stage II meat-based foods, without onion or garlic powder, are the best ones to try.
Obviously, a very sick dog is not going to be interested in toys, but dogs can be prone to moping around and – for want of better wording – milking a situation. I am a Labrador owner; these guys are cunning! It may be an idea to try and entice play with a brand new exciting toy, which could – optimistically maybe – make your dog ‘forget’ he was sick.
So, What is The Bottom Line?
If you think that your dog is suffering from dehydration, talk to your vet. A veterinarian can diagnose the cause of the illness and provide safe, correct treatment immediately. The tips above are only to follow after you have received expert advice from your own vet.
By attempting to cure your dog at home with Pedialyte, you could be causing a fatal delay to the dog’s treatment. The bottom line is that if you think your dog is sick enough to need Pedialyte, they are sick enough to need a vet.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.