ME dogs must have water:

“Most dogs” with megaesophagus DO JUST FINE with drinking liquids, so long as they are in a vertical position and stay there long enough after drinking! Some dogs do NOT tolerate liquids well, although a minority, but for them, liquid is a big problem and they must get it nevertheless, but in other forms. Thick-It, Knox Blocks, subcutaneous fluids, and feeding tubes are all ways to do this. Hydration is VERY important and cannot be overlooked. Unfortunately, many people mistake mucus and retained saliva as “evidence” of liquid intolerance. It isn’t. Gastroenterologists teach us that high protein diets and acidity can wreak havoc with the lower esophageal sphincter and dogs lying flat at night can pool saliva in the esophagus (remember-our saliva assists in digestion and neutralizing of acid), so elevation of the chest at night (not just the neck) is really important.

Some dogs do not tolerate runny food or liquids well, and seem to aspirate them more often. For those, thickeners and gelatin may be used. Subcutaneous fluids may be prescribed. But for many dogs, runny food and water is well tolerated.

Do NOT ever restrict fluids in the belief our dogs can’t have them or don’t need them! Just find the method of administration that works for your dog.

Hydrated or dehydrated:
“Thickening the water makes it easier for dogs who cannot tolerate watery material to swallow, much like what happens to some older folks who lose their ability to swallow water, as in patients w/ Parkinson’s.

If she is “looking” for water, she’s probably thirsty. If you provide a lot of water with her food, she may not require additional fluids. Tacky (like chewing gum) gums, suggest dehydraton. If her gums are nice and slimy (compare with your other dogs) she is most likely well hydrated. Mucus membrane sliminess is a better way of assessing hydration than skin elasticity.”

Dr. Kathy