Signs of Dehydration

Signs of Dehydration

Hydration is a critical part of any animal’s health, and dehydration is more common than we think and can indicate more serious conditions such as colic, heart failure, and kidney failure. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to spot. Knowing the signs of dehydration can prevent further costly health issues.

If you notice any of these symptoms call a vet immediately and keep the animal under supervision. Here are the most common signs of dehydration.

Horse and Cattle

  • Loose skin (pinch test)
  • Sunken in eyes
  • Dark urine
  • Eye mucous membranes forming
  • Depression or lethargy


  • Lack of appetite
  • Inability to drink
  • Constipation
  • Nervous pacing
  • Apparent blindness

Chicken and Duck

  • Wrinkled skin around the eyes
  • Excessive wing flapping
  • Outstretched wings
  • Diarrhea
  • Heavy panting and labored breathing


Winter Intake Requirements

Horses: 5-10 gallons

Cattle: 5-25 gallons

Sheep: ½ – 5 gallons

Chickens: ½ – 1 liter

Pigs: ½ – 1 ½ gallons

Llamas: 2-3 gallons


Adding electrolytes to water will help animals retain hydration, especially during the winter.