When it comes to sports drinks, Gatorade tops the list. It’s a beverage we often look for when we’re feeling dead tired and thirsty. Since it proved helpful for humans, does this mean that Gatorade is also safe for dogs? Can dogs drink Gatorade?
Gatorade might be a drink endorsed by “His Airness” and other A-lister athletes like Serena Williams and Lionel Messi, but this doesn’t mean it’s entirely safe for canine consumption. And you know what? You’re about to find out everything here in this article.
A site that provides a collection of “Can dogs eat” articles, Dog Food Guide is here to give you the pros and cons of giving your dog Gatorade and more.
What You Need To Know About Gatorade
A popular sports drink like Gatorade needs little introduction. This refreshing drink is sold in over 80 countries and is liked by many. It’s not surprising to know that it’s the most sought-after among all sports drinks in the US.
Gatorade was first made in 1965 by a group of researchers at the University of Florida. Its name was derived from the school’s sports team called “the Gators.” Made by combining water, electrolytes, and carbohydrates (think sugar), this concoction was specifically engineered to quickly replenish exhausted and worn-out student-athletes after a hardcore training session.
Fast forward to today, besides replacing the lost fluids, salt, and essential minerals of water- and energy-depleted athletes, average humans (children, included) are also drinking Gatorade to stay hydrated and energized during the hot summer months, after a rigorous exercise, or after an illness.
Can Dogs Drink Gatorade?
While Gatorade is safe for doggie consumption, it’s a drink that should be given to your dog in moderation and in small amounts. More importantly, as responsible dog owners, you should only give your dog Gatorade after getting the consent of your vet.
When Can Dogs Drink Gatorade?
Some experts suggest giving Gatorade to dogs only during the following situations:
Severe dehydration. Besides ensuring that your dogs eat healthy food, keeping your dog hydrated is also vital. Like humans, hydration is critical in pH regulation, nutrient transportation, and other bodily functions in dogs. And similar to humans, dehydration in dogs also happens when dogs lose too much water and minerals or electrolytes.
Water is lost whenever your dog pants, pees, poops, sweat (yes, dogs sweat through their paws), and even when they breathe. When your pet dog fails to drink enough water to replace all that the body has lost, your dog could suffer from dehydration, which could lead to sickness, or worst comes to worst, death.
You’ll know if your pooch is seriously dehydrated if they show the following symptoms:
- Dry, inelastic skin
- Dry nose
- Dry mouth and sticky gums
- Sunken eyes
- Thick saliva
- Lack of appetite and energy
- Vomiting (can be accompanied by diarrhea)
After a bout of diarrhea or vomiting. Yes, you may also consider giving your dog Gatorade if your pet dog is feeling under the weather and is struggling to keep his food down. The added electrolyte in your dog's diet can help your dog avoid dehydration until your dog’s tummy recovers.
Possible Dangers Of Giving Gatorade To Your Dog
While Gatorade may seem like a harmless beverage that’s better than water, it’s still a “born in the lab” sports drink. Gatorade contains high levels of sodium and sugar, as well as artificial flavoring and other additives – ALL of which are not good for dogs.
Gatorade might be safe for human consumption, but the amount of sugar and sodium in a bottle of this electrolyte drink is too much for your pooch to handle. Drinking too much could lead to more tummy problems, including vomiting and diarrhea.
Dog owners may also want to limit their dogs’ Gatorade intake since frequent consumption of this drink can put pressure on your dog’s kidneys. When your pet dog’s body has excess sodium that’s too much for its kidneys to handle, calcium is released. This can result in kidney stones and other kidney problems.
Remember, Gatorade contains a lot of sugar (it wouldn’t taste good if it didn't). And because of this, failure to give this in moderation to your dog can result in sugar-related health problems, including weight gain, diabetes, and tooth decay.
Presence Of Additives & Other Harmful Ingredients
Besides sugar and sodium, Gatorade also contains additives like artificial flavoring and coloring. These manufactured ingredients are stuff your dog isn’t engineered to digest and won’t do any good to your dog’s health..
How To Give Your Dog Gatorade
Let’s say your vet already gave you a “Go” signal. How should you give your dog Gatorade? If you forgot to ask, you don’t have to look for another article. Down below, you’ll find a couple of handy tips on how you can feed this to your dog the right way.
Don’t forget to dilute it with water. Sports drinks like this shouldn’t be given to your dog as is. Given its high sugar and sodium content, it’s best to have a 50-50 mixture of water and Gatorade.
Introduce gradually. The next time you give your dog Gatorade, don’t just fill their bowl with this drink. Make sure to just give them a few sips at a time.
Alternatively, you can freeze Gatorade for dogs. Giving your dog tiny frozen Gatorade ice cubes can help keep your dog cool and help limit the amount they’re consuming at a given time,
Serve moderately. We can’t help but reiterate this bit of info. Like any human food and drink, Gatorade should only be given to your dog occasionally and in moderation.
Yes, a few sips of Gatorade won’t hurt your dog. It can also be helpful whenever your dog needs to restore the electrolytes and fluids in its body quickly. But, if it’s a choice between water and Gatorade, we would still pick water.
If your dog isn’t severely dehydrated, giving your dog cool, plain water already does the job. It can replenish the fluids and electrolytes your dog lost during an exercise on a hot day.
However, if your dog is in need of a quick fix, you can pick healthier electrolyte drinks like Pedialyte. But, as always, make it a habit to check with your vet before giving this to your pal.