Pedialyte is an electrolyte solution that can be given to children or adults with mild diarrhea or dehydration. It can help rehydrate and replenish electrolytes, which often makes a sick person with mild dehydration feel better.
So if your dog is suffering from the same symptoms, can you give a dog Pedialyte, too? Is Pedialyte safe or even useful for dogs?
Here’s what you need to know about giving Pedialyte to dogs.
Can Dogs Have Pedialyte?
The short answer is that in small quantities, Pedialyte is likely safe for most dogs, but there are many reasons why you should not give your dog Pedialyte. Your first action should be calling your vet instead.
Most importantly, there are no scientific studies at this time advocating for its use in dogs. There is simply no evidence that Pedialyte is any more beneficial to a mildly dehydrated dog than just regular water.
And the dangers of giving your dog Pedialyte are too great—you could end up actually making your dog feel worse.
Risks of Giving Pedialyte to Dogs
Here’s why it’s best to call your vet rather than trying to treat your dog at home with Pedialyte.
Pets That Are Sick and Dehydrated Need a Veterinarian—Not Pedialyte
If your dog is dehydrated enough to need additional care beyond simple water, then you should be seeking veterinary care.
Take your dog to the vet for treatment if your dog has a serious electrolyte imbalance. Your veterinarian will be able to hydrate and rebalance your dog much more effectively and safely than you can at home with Pedialyte.
They can also determine the cause of dehydration, which might need more serious treatment. If you are concerned enough to be considering giving your dog Pedialyte, then you should be calling your veterinarian.
Pedialyte Can Make Vomiting Dogs Worse in Some Cases
Attempting home remedies may delay veterinary care, making a worse overall prognosis in some pets. Even more damaging, providing Pedialyte to a vomiting dog who continues to vomit can actually make dehydration and electrolyte imbalances worse.
With pets that have vomiting and diarrhea, it’s best to call your vet. Oftentimes, they will recommend coming in to be seen, but sometimes they may recommend withholding food for 8-12 hours and assessing for vomiting and diarrhea.
If vomiting recurs or your dog shows signs of lethargy, they must go to the vet. If no vomiting is seen during that time, then slowly introduce a bland diet. Most vets would agree that withholding food and starting a bland diet is likely far more beneficial than giving a dog Pedialyte.
Pedialyte Has Been Formulated For Humans—Not Dogs
Lastly, Pedialyte is not formulated based on canine electrolyte balance. Most human energy drinks tend to have higher sodium than what is indicated for dogs.
The higher level of sodium can be harmful for dogs. Pedialyte also has extra sugar in it, which may be harmful to diabetic dogs or dogs with diseases who are predisposed to electrolyte imbalances.
Patients with vomiting, moderate to severe dehydration, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or other diseases that make your pet sensitive to sodium or sugar intake should definitely avoid Pedialyte.
Without knowing why your pet is sick, it would be difficult to determine the benefit of adding Pedialyte to their water.
Can Pedialyte Ever Be Given to Dogs?
Historically, some shelters and rescues who are unable to hospitalize their pets will use small amounts of Pedialyte with parvovirus puppies that have already been to see the veterinarian and been determined to be stable enough for outpatient treatment.
Pedialyte does not ‘cure’ parvovirus. It would simply be one element of supportive care. Usually, the puppies are also treated with fluids, anti-nausea medications, and antibiotics.
Bottom Line: Call the Vet Instead of Giving Your Dog Pedialyte
If you think your pet is sick, instead of reaching for Pedialyte, talk with your veterinarian. They can help assess your pet to determine what treatment is warranted.
Do not delay getting a sick pet to the veterinarian because you have Pedialyte at home you would like to try first. This could affect your dog negatively by delaying needed treatments.
If your dog is sick enough to need Pedialyte, they’re sick enough to need a veterinarian.
By: Dr. Monica Tarantino, DVM
Featured Image: iStock.com/LightFieldStudios