Electrolytes For Dogs: Natural Hydration Sources and Supplements

Guide to Electrolytes for Dogs

In some cases, dogs need electrolytes in their diet to avoid dehydration and muscle cramps, but not all supplements are created equal.

I'm sure that you have had trouble finding an answer because there's misinformation online about whether you need supplements or can rely on real food.

This is a guide designed specifically for dog owners who want to find out which foods and products are best for their dogs!

Whether you're trying to make sure that your dog doesn't get dehydrated on hot days or you're trying to keep them happy as they recover from illness or injury, I have you covered.

If you want the quick answer, find a high quality bone broth to rehydrate them asap. Bluebird Provisions is the best option with potassium, along with phosphorous and magnesium.

dogs running in grass

Electrolytes For Dogs Intro

Electrolytes are important for dogs because they help to rehydrate and balance the dog's hydration levels. They are crucial for overall health and stable energy levels throughout the day.

But what are they? Basically they are salts found in foods and pet's bodies that regulate water balance. The most well known ones are sodium, potassium magnesium and calcium.

Best Electrolytes for Dogs

There is no single best electrolytes for dogs. They work together in harmony to ensure that their metabolism, nervous system and muscles work properly. I'll walk you through different sources that have them in the right amounts below.

They are especially important for dogs who are ill because they help to maintain fluids that can be lost from bouts of vomiting and diarrhea or endocrine disorders.

Health Benefits of Electrolytes to Dogs

Health benefits include maintaining water balance, proper muscle function, heart health, blood pressure and bone health. The cool thing is that each play a slightly different role in your dog's health.

Water Balance: Sodium is crucial to help maintain fluid balance and ensuring that their cells are firing on all cylinders. When imbalances occur, health issues happen.

Muscle Function: Potassium is needed for muscle contracts and proper heart or cardiac function. Chloride helps out in these areas as well. In fact, hypokalemia (low blood potassium condition) can happen due to poor appetite or under eating. This can lead to poor coordination, weakness and a loss of muscle function.

Blood Pressure: Chloride helps maintain proper blood pressure.

Bone Health: Magnesium along with potassium are integral to keeping their bones strong, particular senior dogs.

Looking for a healthy meal addition? Read my guide to the 9 best meal toppers for dogs.

The research that has been done on electrolyte use in dogs is comparing the effects of electrolyte content in drinking water versus other methods of hydration.

The tests show few benefits when offering an electrolyte drink versus regular drinking water.

How do I rehydrate my dog?

In most cases, you do not need fancy supplements to rehydrate your dog. In fact, the research that has been done comparing the effects of electrolytes in drinking water versus supplements shows little difference.

Unless under extreme circumstances, you probably do not need anything expensive. Try making a chicken broth as home.

What can I give my dog for electrolytes?

For the most part, you can simply give your dog water for electrolytes instead supplements. If you think water isn't cutting it, give them a high quality chicken bone broth like the one made by Bluebird Provisions.

Giving them electrolyte drinks, even occasionally, can lead to a buildup of excess sodium or other unnecessary elements.

They can also lead to signs of water retention, swelling, blood pressure and heart issues. So use them sparingly and check with your vet first. They can cause health issues all over the body and are not a cure all.

What is a Hydration Drink for Dogs

A hydration drink for dogs is a product that has been specifically made to keep your dog hydrated. It comes in different flavors and can be added to their food or used as a daily drink.

These products are controversial because they are potentially harmful to dogs in large doses. Many experts think that pets do not need hydration drinks or anything other than food and regular water.

What is an Electrolyte Supplement For Dogs

An electrolyte supplement for dogs is a product that replenishes lost salts and minerals to help maintain hydration and fluid balance.

These are particularly used in extreme heat / weather conditions, recovery / support from major illness / surgery and during vigorous exercise like hiking and running.

Makers of these products claim that they help maintain hydration levels in dogs and cats and encourage them to drink more.

In my opinion, these drinks are good for certain occasions and for senior or sick and weak dogs. However, most pet owners do not need them as they are expensive and the risks outweigh the benefits.

5 Best Electrolyte Replacement Solutions for Dogs

The 5 best electrolyte replacement solutions for dogs are chicken bone broth, pet-a-lyte, Revive, K9 athlete and Bullyade.

You might be shocked a chicken broth ahead of the others. This is for two reasons

  1. I believe whole food sources are the best option for most situations.
  2. 99% of electrolyte supplements for dogs list sugar (aka maltodextrin, fructose, brown rice syrup) as the first ingredient. These are basically sugar water with some added electrolytes. Not great for your canine friend.

Let's get on with the list.

Chicken Bone Broth by Bluebird Provisions

Chicken bone broth is a type hydrating broth made from chicken bones, skin, connective tissue and meat. Because of the long simmer time and different animal parts, it is the absolute best whole food source of hydration.

It's great for dogs because it is high in potassium (300 mg) and calcium and other nutrients like glycine, glucosamine and chondroitin.

Chicken bone broth hydration drink for dogs

Plus it's a seamless way to add flavor and moisture to their regular meals. Simply mix 1 tsp to 1 tbsp powder into their regular kibble with some water.

But you can't feed them any store-bought version. Look for a human-grade product like Bluebird Provisions chicken bone broth powder.

It's a convenient powder that you can store in the pantry. Made for humans but that's what we look for in any dog food.

It mixes into hot water for an anytime hydration beverage. Make sure you allow the temperature to cool before serving them.

Get it with free shipping on Amazon Prime.

Vet Classics Pet-A-Lyte Oral Electrolyte Solution for Dogs and Cats

Pet-A-Lyte for dogs is a decent supplement but has a few questionable ingredients as you can see underlined in red below.

Brown rice syrup and natural flavorings are a confusing in this type of product. I suspect the brand adds them to increase the taste and palatability to get pets to drink more of it.

Vet Classics Pet-A-Lyte Oral Electrolytes Solution for Dogs and Cats

It is recommended for post operation recovery. Not for everyday or active use.

You can find this for $16.99 for a 32 oz bottle. The recommended serving size is 3-4 oz for 3-4 times per day or as needed. This works out to around $1.6 per serving. I'll also note it has a 30 day shelf life once opened.

Revive - Natural, Electrolyte, Odorless Pet Supplement

Revive can be used in food and water. It comes in two convenient formats: either a dropper or spray bottle. You simply add some to your pet's meals and water for extra hydration.

The thing I like is that it is just electrolytes with no added sugar or flavorings. The cost is $23.99 per spray bottle and you get around 200 sprays per bottle.

The recommended serving size is 2 sprays per meal, which puts the cost per serving at $0.24. It's hard to find but has great reviews.  Revive - Natural, Electrolyte, Odorless Pet Supplement

Ingredients: Water, Alkaline Minerals (Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Other Trace Minerals), and Electrolytes (Oxygen, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin D).

K9 Athlete - Hydrate & Recover Nutritional Dog Hydration

K9 Athlete hydrate and recover formula is a powder without a ton of added ingredients. Although there is still the dreaded natural flavors which do not belong.

Regardless, it has less nasty fillers, sugar and additives than other options. The price is reasonable at $34.95 per canister which holds 120 servings.

This brings the cost per serving to $0.29.

Ingredients: Potassium, sodium chloride, natural flavors, l-glutamine, l-leucine, silicon dioxide, dextrose, l-glutathione.

K9 Athlete Hydrate and Recover Nutritional Dog Hydration

Bullyade Natural Dog Supplement

Bullyade has 18 vitamins and minerals to replenish dogs faster. It is recommended for recovery from parvo, illness and dehydration.

Bullyade is a powder protein that you can mix it into their water bowl or with food. It comes in a meaty chicken or beef flavor.

One 4.2 ounce bottle costs $24.99 and includes 45 servings. The cost per serving is $0.55.

Bullyade Natural Dog Supplement

Read my review of the 6 best bone broth's for dogs.

What are the symptoms of low electrolytes in dogs?

Symptoms of low electrolytes in dogs are a loss of appetite, weight loss, low energy, illness, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures.

If your pup experiences any of these symptoms, take them to your vet right away. It is important to quickly diagnose and treat low electrolytes in dogs to avoid serious health complications.

How often should you give electrolytes to dogs?

Under most circumstances, dogs thrive on water, not electrolyte drinks. Salts and minerals in electrolyte drinks can be harmful to dogs if given regularly. Giving these beverages to dogs occasionally is okay, but regular use can lead to problems.

Closing Thoughts

There are many options available when it comes to electrolytes for dogs. However, not all of them are necessary. Supplements are overkill unless you're under extreme circumstances.

When choosing a food-based solution for your dog, be sure to pick one that is gentle on their digestive system and contains all of the necessary nutrients.

I personally recommend Bluebird Provisions chicken broth because of the limited ingredients and natural source of hydration.

You can find them on Amazon Prime as well for free shipping.

Have you tried any of these foods or supplements to hydrate your fury friend? Leave a comment and let me know how it went.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used to treat or supplement any pet's diet. Consult your veterinarian or animal health specialist if you have questions about anything related to their food, consumption or health.

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Great taste and texture. Will be purchasing this again. Works great on its own for sipping and also in soup!"

Adrienne L