It is common knowledge that Gatorade is an effective electrolyte drink that helps people replenish essential minerals lost either through intense exercises or illness, such as diarrhea. Because Gatorade is so effective in humans, many dog owners are turning to this sports drink as a treatment for their dogs to help when they're dehydrated.
But, is it safe? Can dog's drink Gatorade?
Looking for the answers? You'll have them after reading this.
In this article we will look at Gatorade's effectiveness for dogs and whether Gatorade is a safe and effective alternative to plain water when treating dehydration in your pet.
People tend to gulp down bottles of Gatorade like it's going out of fashion, now while this is okay for humans, it’s probably not going to be good for your dog. With your dog moderation is key, remember Gatorade is full of sugars and sodium which will not do your dog any good when consumed in large amounts. There are worse things you can give your dog, but don't fall into the habit of giving your dog Gatorade regularly.
Dehydration In Dogs
The main reason dog owners want to give their dogs Gatorade is to treat dehydration. Dehydration is common in dogs, especially smaller breeds and if it goes unchecked, it can become a severe problem.
Funnily enough, dogs don't sweat, so they can have difficulty cooling their bodies down, especially in the summer months. Because your dog doesn't sweat, it's hard to determine if your dog is hot, overheating or dehydrated. However, telltale signs can be excessive panting, vomiting, diarrhea, or being overly lethargic.
If you think your K9 buddy is becoming dehydrated giving him sips of Gatorade is perfectly okay, and in fact, many veterinarians recommend giving your dog a drink that contains electrolytes (such as Gatorade) in emergency situations.
The Problem Giving Gatorade To Your Dog
The keyword here is “emergency” situations. You shouldn't be giving your dog Gatorade regularly and water should be their primary beverage to keep them fully hydrated. The problem with Gatorade and other colorful drinks you see on the store shelves is the amount of salt, sugar, and caffeine they contain. Many of the additives will ironically make you even more dehydrated.
When it comes to dogs, you've got to remember that they have smaller organs and what might be considered okay for people could be too much for your K9 buddy. Their little bodies will have to work double to process these added sugars, salts and other unnatural ingredients.
Yes, Gatorade, to a certain degree, also contains ingredients you shouldn't actually be giving to your dog, but when given sparingly it shouldn't be an issue, and if your dog is dehydrated, it could be a lifesaver.
The Problem With Sugar
The amount of sugar found in Gatorade and other human drinks is the number one reason why your pooch should not consume these type of drinks on a regular basis. Even though Gatorade doesn't have as much sugar as other beverages, it still contains roughly several grams per serving, and for a small dog, this can be a lot.
Their teeth can suffer as well as an increase in body fat, to name just a few issues, which can all be side effects of giving your dog too much sugar. Sugar is also incredibly addictive, and your pooch might come to expect the additional sugar in their diet; again moderation is key.
High Levels of Sodium (Salt)
Gatorade contains elevated levels of sodium and other essential minerals to re-hydrate a person's body quickly, and that's why athletes reach for a sports drink after vigorous training or exercise. So it goes without saying that your dog doesn’t need to replace their electrolyte levels to the same degree as professional athletes do.
Yes, in emergency situations grab a bottle of Gatorade and give it to your dog, but don't make it a regular thing. As long as your dog has water in their bowl and they're kept cool (not locked inside hot cars) during the summer months, they'll be perfectly fine.
How To Give Gatorade To Your Dog
If you’ve decided to give your dog some Gatorade to help them to rehydrate, it's best to dilute it with water. Ideally, a mix of 50/50 plain water and Gatorade will be the best route to take and they'll still benefit from the electrolytes.
Even though we are primarily focusing on Gatorade, it’s worth pointing out that other sports drinks and products can be used to help hydrate your dog. There's Pedialyte, which has been formulated with children’s bodies in mind, could inadvertently make it easier for your pooch to handle, or even Kaopectate can be given to your dog.
Also, there are other drink alternatives such as Sports Water, or better still, give them natural coconut water that’s packed full of mother nature's electrolytes.
Can Dogs Drink Gatorade? Yes, .... But.
Your dog will not become a super athlete after gulping down Gatorade, so don't expect them to turn into a super dog. However, if your pooch is recovering from sickness Gatorade in moderation is fine and works well to re-hydrate them.
Dehydration is a common canine condition, and you should pay particular attention to your pooch during the hotter months. If left untreated, dehydration can turn deadly, very quickly, so ensuring that your pooch is cool and fully hydrated is your primary goal.
However, as we've outlined in this article, just be mindful of the additional ingredients found in Gatorade and other drinks made for people. If your dog is dehydrated using products such as Pedialyte will be a better option versus Gatorade.
In the summer months if your dog is active a regular supply of water is all they need, being proactive and ensuring that they don't spiral into the realms of dehydration is the better option, and yes, Gatorade given sparingly will not do any harm, but regular water should be your first priority.
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