When it comes to re-hydration purposes, and this is true and wildly popular among the community of fitness enthusiasts who lose a lot of water throughout the day because of physical activities they take part in and need to recover those lost electrolytes, drinking Gatorade is the #1 go-to solution for many sports enthusiasts.
However, can the same be said for dehydrated dogs? (As we’ll be seeing throughout the remainder of this article, dogs can lose a significant amount of water throughout certain circumstances, which obviously needs to be replenished so they remain properly hydrated).
Can dehydrated dogs drink Gatorade for re-hydration purposes? Or is Gatorade bad for dogs and will end up harming them more than it will help them?
Can Dogs Drink Gatorade? Or Is Gatorade For Dogs Bad?
YES, dogs can drink Gatorade and Gatorade is not toxic to dogs, nor will it cause them any harm if not given to them to drink in excessive quantities.
Some dog owners are just curious about finding out what their dog’s reaction will be to having a taste of some of their Gatorade, while other dog owners believe that it may be a good way to enhance the taste of their water and get stubborn dogs that don’t drink enough water from their bowls throughout the day to change their ways and become better hydrated.
In all cases, giving your dog a tiny bit of Gatorade every now and then is certainly no big deal and won’t cause them any notable harm.
The problems, of-course, will begin whenever a dog owner goes overboard with giving their dogs Gatorade, as noted by Benjamin Davidson, New York City veterinary specialist.
Some dog owners, for example, make it a habit of giving their dogs significant amounts of Gatorade on a daily basis during excessively hot, summer days, thinking that they’re helping them replenish lost water and lost electrolytes this way.
In reality, this is bad practice that needs to stop, as dogs are most certainly not meant to be drinking Gatorade in excessive amounts no matter what the reason is.
The following list covers two of the most common instances where dog owners think about giving their dogs Gatorade.
Diarrhea: If your dog is experiencing bouts of diarrhea and is defecating many, many times in a single day, then you know for a fact that they’re losing significant amounts of fluids that needs to be replenished or else they’ll risk being dehydrated.
High Levels Of Physical Activity: Many dog owners tend to think that just like athletic individuals grab a recovery drink in Gatorade after a session of intense physical activity, their dogs should also be given Gatorade to properly recover after a session of intense physical activity of their own.
This, however, is not true because Gatorade was tailored to meet the needs of humans who need it after vigorous exercise, not dogs.
What Should I Give My Dog Instead Of Gatorade?
First thing’s first, and if your dog is dehydrated for whatever reason, your #1 try should always be to get your dog to drink water in its purest form in order to replenish.
One of the favorite ways many dog owners like to do this is by making use of something like a dog water fountain.
Most of the times, this will work just fine and your dog will be back to normal and re-hydrated in no time.
However, there are certain times and cases which are more severe, ones where water alone won’t be enough to properly re-hydrate your dog.
If this is the case with your dog, then a much better and safer alternative than giving them Gatorade is to give your dog Pedialyte.
Pedialyte was specifically manufactured for re-hydration purposes, while Gatorade was specifically manufactured as a sports drink, so there’s a bit of a difference between the two there and Pedialyte is always a better option for dehydrated dogs, no doubt.
Also, and if you would rather remain as natural as can be with your approach to helping your dog re-hydrate and replenish those lost electrolytes, here’s a DIY Gatorade-alternative recipe for dogs that you can try out for yourself.
The Problem With Gatorade And Dogs
Just in case you’re wondering why we’re not huge advocates of giving dogs Gatorade to drink and making a habit out of it, the following is a list that covers some of the most important aspects you should know about in case you’re already in the habit of giving your dog excessive Gatorade to drink, or are thinking about making a habit out of this for whatever reason that may be.
Sugar Levels: One of the most prominent cons associated with giving dogs Gatorade to drink is the sky-high levels of sugar included in this drink.
You and I may be able to handle that amount of sugar found in a bottle of Gatorade, but the digestive system of a dog was just not designed to do that.
Then there’s also the issue of risking having your dog becoming overweight/obese, which is a whole other world of problems that you definitely don’t want coming your way.
Artificial Ingredients: There’s no need for you to check the ingredients list on a bottle of Gatorade to know that there are artificial ingredients included, just taking a look at the many different flavors of Gatorade (and the wide array of different colors these flavors are available in) at your local store would be enough.
Put simply and in short, anything that contains artificial ingredients, your dog is better off without – and is most certainly better off given a more natural alternative.
High Sodium Levels: Again, this ties hand in hand with the point that, even when dehydrated or having lost a notable amount of fluids in their bodies because of an illness, dogs don’t need high levels of Sodium (nowhere near those that you and I need, at least), which is ultimately who Gatorade was designed for.
Gatorade contains significantly high amounts of sodium that your dog, even when notably ill and trying to recover all their lost fluids, only needs a small percentage of.
Conclusion About Dogs And Gatorade
So, to sum this article up, YES – dogs can safely drink a little bit of Gatorade from time to time and within the realms of moderation without anything bad happening to them, but there’s no real reason for you do be giving them Gatorade other than as a treat.
When it all comes down to it, a dehydrated dog will get all the re-hydration they need from drinking water poured into their water bowl or being served to them from a pet water fountain, and it really doesn’t need to get any more complicated than that.
As for more extreme cases such as an illness that your dog is trying to bounce back from where water alone won’t cut it, going with an option like Pedialyte is a much better idea than giving your dog a sports drink that isn’t as suitable for their needs.