Should I Be Giving Gatorade or Electrolyte Drinks To My Dog?

Gatorade is known as a popular drink which can help athletes re-hydrate and replenish their energy. If you’ve ever drunk Gatorade or know someone who does, you may be sitting there scratching your head and thinking how is this available for canines?

In this article I’ll outline more information about the drink, its potential advantages and disadvantages, and most importantly, I’ll answer the question is it safe for your pet?

What is Gatorade?

By taking a close look at its website, you can clearly see that the company itself suggests that the drink was “born in the lab”. Depending on what you make of this statement, you can either believe that extensive research was done in order to make this product eliminate a potential problem – athletes being ill after exercising in extreme heat- or that the product is completely artificially created.

Nevertheless, the goal was noble, create a drink which would replace crucial electrolytes and carbohydrates that athletes tend to lose during exercise, while also being a great way of keeping yourself hydrated.

Why Are Owners Feeding It To Their Dogs?

Since the product is considered safe for human consumption, it should come as little surprise that many owners are considering giving this to their pooch. Following that logic – that Gatorade is an attractive option in terms of hydration – you may think that this liquid will do its magic and keep your canine friend balanced and healthy.

However, there are many things to consider when giving your canine a new food or drink. For example, canines are not able to eat chocolate, onions, and other such things we humans consume. Thus, it’s always best to take precautions and know exactly what it is and what it can or can’t do for your dog.

The primary reason why owners give it their canines is diarrhea. Because your pooch may be losing copious amounts of fluids while defecating, there is a serious risk that it can become dehydrated. Once upon a time it was good enough to give your pet water, but it seems that times are changing or evolving.

The second most important reason is closely related to the amount of physical activity a canine is being exposed to. Since professional athletes are prone to recovering by drinking Gatorade, owners may be thinking that the drink will also help canines who are predominantly active.

Is it Safe?

I know many of you were waiting for this moment, and the answer is YES. Gatorade is safe for your pet, however the question is, how healthy is this drink? As a rule of thumb, I wouldn’t personally give my kids or my pup anything that I wouldn’t drink myself, and it is by no means an exception.

However, the reality is that giving your pet a little bit now and again is not a big deal, certainly not something which will affect them in the long run. Problems occur when you abuse the drink, making it a daily treat or replacement to water.

Potential Side Effects

Needless to say that your pet’s body is smaller in size compared to you. This means that any ingredients should relate to a canine’s body instead of that of an adult human. If you’ve ever looked at the ingredients listed in the drink, you may be a bit overwhelmed. Even if you’re not familiar with dextrose, sucrose, mono-potassium phosphate, you may understand that these sounds like chemicals.

In other words, Gatorade has quite a significant amount of sugar and sodium. And since our pets are unable to process chemicals and additives as we can, they should only be provided on rare occasions. Most parents are the same with their children, making sure that excessive amounts of sugar are not ingested by their children, so why wouldn’t you apply the same rules for your four-legged fluffy friend?

What Should I Give My Canine Instead Of Gatorade?

As a general rule, if your pet is dehydrated, you should always get them fresh clean water. This is the best and most natural drink that your canine should get used to drinking. If you’re looking for new and creative ways of making your pup drink water, then why not try a water fountain, or a cooling bowl?

However, if your canine is prone to throwing up or having extreme diarrhea, then you may consider Pedialyte. Having a similar goal in mind – eliminating dehydration – this drink is a combination of carbohydrate and electrolytes. This means that the drink will replenish the two components in your body, thus hydrating it. In addition, what could potentially separate this drink from Gatorade is the fact that Pedialyte was designed for children’s bodies, making the ingredients a lot easier to handle for canines.

If you’re set on the idea of your canine drinking Gatorade, the most responsible thing you can do as an owner is to dilute the drink with water. In an ideal world, you will mix 50% water with 50% Gatorade, or otherwise a 60 % – 40% mix. If you still feel that the drink would be too strong for your pup, you can always opt for freezing the mix into ice cubes, then putting one ice cube per bowl of water.

Conclusion

To sum up, Gatorade can be considered safe for canines. However, similar to any other product which is designed for consumption, moderation is key. This means that no harm will come to your dog as long as you are responsibly giving the drink to your pooch, once in awhile.

However, when it comes to dehydration, there is absolutely nothing that can compare to our all-time favorite hydrating and natural water. In case there are some illnesses (i.e. vomiting, diarrhea), it is important to always consult your veterinarian and discuss other options available on the market.

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