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Electrolytes for Pets

What kind of electrolytes can you give a dog or cat? Pet Electrolytes play an important role in keeping puppies and kittens hydrated and healthy. Shelley and Deedee discuss some of the most common reasons pet owners use electrolytes. Whether you are weaning a puppy or helping a kitten recover from diarrhea, pet electrolytes will help that young animal stay hydrated.

Electrolytes for Dogs & Cats

Pet Electrolytes

Pet Electrolytes in water treat a number of puppies and kittens needs. In litters with diarrhea, the puppies and kittens need electrolytes to keep them from dehydrating. They probably won’t die from the virus or bacteria, but they can die from the resulting dehydration. Electrolytes also have enough sugar to keep them from becoming hypoglycemic. They are also helpful for “slow to wean” puppies, helping with the stress of weaning. Most electrolytes will work, and they’re inexpensive and easy to use. Breeder’s Edge Puppy and Kitten Lyte is a good choice.

In emergency situations, other electrolytes work well too, but some have issues with the sugar source sticking to water bottles and bowls, which make them difficult to clean. Though expensive, Pedialyte with glucose (for human babies) in an emergency situation is alright to use. It is too sweet for puppies and kittens so dilute 50/50 with water before using, and they will swallow without gagging.

When your pet is not feeling well or just needs a boost of energy, electrolytes are often the answer.

What Are Electrolytes for Dogs and Cats?

Electrolytes are salts regulated by the kidney as part of hydration. Replacing them in oral solution can help the body stay hydrated and support your dogs and cats needs. Electrolytes also have dextrose to keep puppies and kittens energy level up. In litters of puppies and kittens with diarrhea, electrolytes keep them from dehydrating so their immune system can fight. Sick pets probably won’t die from the virus or bacteria, but they can die from the result of dehydration.

Most people know when diarrhea or vomiting is happening, dehydration is a top concern. When that is happening, you need to assess whether a puppy or kitten is becoming dehydrated. A great way to do this with newborns is to stimulate urination using a cotton ball. Newborns should have little or no color to their urine. If there is any color, that indicates the newborn is getting dehydrated and an electrolyte solution is the answer.

Electrolytes aren’t only beneficial for cases of diarrhea. They can also be helpful with newborn puppies that become chilled. When this happens mom often sets the cold puppy aside, she does not know how to help the slow newborn. Chilled newborns can’t digest milk while cold but they can absorb and use warm electrolytes with dextrose.

Tube feeding warm electrolytes with dextrose helps to slowly warm the puppy up in a safe way. Warm electrolytes help warm the newborn from the inside out as you are warming from the outside in. Warming too fast can put the newborn’s body in shock and that can be dangerous. Once the puppy is warm, switch to a milk replacer like Breeder’s Edge Foster Care and then back to mom to care for them. Giving mom a little help usually saves the chilled baby.

Overeating diarrhea is a common issue with C-Section dog and cat moms. When the mom is late with her milk and then it does finally come in, puppies and kittens are hungry so they overeat and end up with diarrhea. When this happens, sometimes many people can’t figure out what the problem is. For overeating diarrhea, we give electrolytes to fill their tummies so they feel full and back off nursing. Using Breeder’s Edge Oxy Momma during her next pregnancy will help ensure mom milks from day one and you won’t deal with this issue.

What Kind of Electrolytes Can You Give a Dog?

Breeder’s Edge Puppy Lyte and Breeder’s Edge Kitten Lyte replenish electrolytes, and most importantly, help maintain hydration. Since they also contain fast absorbing dextrose, these electrolytes give a needed energy boost as well. These electrolytes are helpful to use with moms following surgery, whelping or queening or just nursing. The Puppy and Kitten Lyte electrolyte products are useful for diarrhea or vomiting, no matter the age of your pet.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball to know when a puppy or kitten will suddenly become ill. If diarrhea or vomiting strikes, you want to have electrolytes on hand, ready to go in order to prevent dehydration. It is wise to have electrolytes in your emergency

Many people turn to electrolytes during the recovery period, but it’s important to know that electrolytes can and should be used before and during illness as well. This is especially true for young puppies and kittens.

If one puppy in the litter is sick, giving the entire litter electrolytes may help keep littermates from getting sick as well.

Oral Electrolytes vs Injectable Electrolytes vs Enema Fluids

Oral electrolytes are a simple and fast solution when you need hydration quickly. Oral electrolytes are easy to give to an entire litter even if only one of the puppies is sick. You want to keep everyone else healthy. The earlier we use electrolytes, the better the newborn or adult can fight the illness.

Injectable electrolytes are best to use when swallowing is not possible such as when they are vomiting. These prescription fluids can hydrate without going orally and your veterinarian can help you with how to inject them safely.

Electrolyte enemas are often the answer in the pediatric patient, when no other option is possible. If you have a dehydrated newborn with no blood pressure, he needs fluids now. Warm rectal fluids hydrate the puppy and helps bring the body temperature up safely.

Pedialyte is an expensive option, so there is that. Pedialyte contains glucose which is too sweet for puppies and kittens. In an emergency situation, you can use Pedialyte but dilute it with 50 percent Pedialyte to 50 percent water before giving it to your
pet and they will take it better. Ideally, you want to have on hand electrolytes such as the Breeder’s Edge Puppy and Kitten Lyte that are formulated specifically for pets.

Shelley Hexom

Written by: Shelley Hexom

Content Manager

Shelley Hexom is Revival's Content Manager and helps develop educational pet health resources. A three-time Emmy® Award-winning news anchor, Shelley works with Revival's Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, to help create useful and easy-to-understand articles, videos, and webinars. Shelley received her bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from Winona State University in 2002. As a pet owner, Shelley enjoys time with her Boxer mix, Sally. Shelley has been part of the Revival Paw Squad since 2016.

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