Pedialyte is an electrolyte solution that is taken orally. It is manufactured by Abbot Laboratories and is designed to replace fluids and minerals for a child that has become dehydrated after diarrhea or vomiting.
The sugars and electrolytes that Pedialyte contains are in the ratio and quantity recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Pedialyte is lower in sugar than sports drinks, and higher in electrolytes sodium and potassium. The electrolytes are critical chemicals in the functioning of muscle tissue and brain neurons. Dehydration causes electrolyte disturbances that can lead to heart and brain complications. This is why it is important to replenish electrolytes as well as the water that is lost during dehydration.
Although designed for human children, Pedialyte is commonly used by veterinarians as well since animals also rely on an electrolyte balance for muscle and brain function. Pedialyte use in animals must be tailored to the species and size of the animal that is dehydrated.
Can I Give My Cat Pedialyte? Answer: Yes.
Giving Pedialyte to your cat is an effective way to treat mild dehydration and prevent it in cats that are prone to it. For severe cases of dehydration Pedialyte will not be enough and veterinary care should be sought.
The first step in deciding to give your cat Pedialyte is determining whether or not the cat is dehydrated or if the cat will be prone to dehydration. If it is determined that Pedialyte is necessary then it can be introduced into the water supply or given directly to the cat with a mouth syringe. The appropriate method will depend on the cat’s behavior and severity of dehydration.
Dehydration is not always easy to spot in cats. If a cat has diabetes or a kidney illness they will be likely to get dehydrated and can be offered some as a preventative measure. If the cat has had diarrhea periodically pull back the skin around its neck and see if the skin springs back to place, if it does not move back or moves back slowly your cat is probably dehydrated.
Other signs of dehydration in cats are dry mouth and lethargy. If a cat’s gums are not moist to the touch their mouth is dry. Also if you touch a cat’s gums and the color does not return quickly they are likely dehydrated.
Putting Pedialyte Into Their Water Supply
Mixing equal amounts of Pedialyte and water in a bowl can treat or prevent very mild cases of dehydration if the cat is willing to drink the water. Make sure the Pedialyte is unflavored or the cat will refuse it. Sometimes the cat will detect the solution even if it is unflavored and will avoid the water, this can be overcome by also adding some tuna or clam juice.
Cats that refuse food or water may still lick ice cubes. If your cat is not drinking and does not take a syringe try to make a Pedialyte ice cube and see if they will take in water this way.
Giving Pedialyte Directly
Cats with moderate dehydration or who will not drink water with Pedialyte can be given the solution directly with a mouth syringe or eye dropper. A few drops every ten minutes for one hour is the best ratio to start with in most situations.
To administer Pedialyte directly hold the cat by the back of the neck and pinch lightly, peel back the gums and place the tip of the syringe into the cheek pocket and expel the fluid quickly. Continue to hold the cat’s neck for a few seconds to make sure it will not spit out the solution.
Cats and Pedialyte
Pedialyte is an appropriate remedy for dehydration in cats, but it is always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian. Giving too little Pedialyte will be ineffective and giving too much can be harmful. In some situations Pedialyte alone is not sufficient and other measures will need to be taken by a professional.