Can I Give My Cat Pedialyte?

Ever wonder if Pedialyte was ok for cats to drink if they were dehydrated?  It’s what we give to my 3-year-old when she gets a fever, so it should be ok, right? My cat’s health is super important to me, but heading to the vet isn’t always the most practical option.  With a busy schedule and a cat that hates to get into the carrier, the more home remedies I can count on to keep my cat healthy, the better!

So, can I give my cat Pedialyte? Unflavored Pedialyte can be used to target dehydration in cats.  As an oral electrolyte solution, the effectiveness of Pedialyte usage in cats depends on administering the proper dosage and should only be used as a remedy for dehydration.  Pedialyte should not replace a cat’s normal diet.

cat drinking pedialyte

Having the knowledge of using Pedialyte appropriately for your cat can be a game changer.  

You can get Unflavored Pedialyte from Amazon or your local grocery store

It gives you the power to treat certain health challenges in the comfort of your home.

Because of its unique composition, the science behind Pedialyte just makes sense, too.  

But it’s always wise to be on the lookout for signs that Pedialyte isn’t enough.

With the right awareness, you’ll be able to gauge if the Pedialyte worked sufficiently, or if a trip to the vet is necessary after all.

When To Give Your Cat Pedialyte

Knowing how to use Pedialyte properly can be a huge advantage for keeping your cat healthy.  

It can also save a trip to the vet!

This means saving money, time and stress are crucial for senior felines or cats that don’t do well in the car.

Pedialyte is primarily used to treat dehydration, which occurs when your cat doesn’t have enough fluids.  

Without a sufficient amount of fluids in its system, your cat’s body can break down quickly, causing major problems.  

Dehydration that goes untreated can lead to the internal organs shutting down.

Eventually, prolonged dehydration can even lead to death.

There are many ways a cat can become dehydrated.  

One cause of dehydration is: Illness

If a cat is suffering from an infection, virus, or other health problem, it can quickly become dehydrated…

Either by lack of drinking enough water or by expelling fluids too rapidly.  

Cats with diabetes or kidney problems are at a higher risk of dehydration.

Prolonged vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to dehydration.  

Both of these defenses are triggered in order to expel something from the body, such as rotten food or a toxic substance.  

While vomiting and diarrhea do the trick of getting the bad stuff out of the body, they also expel essential fluids, too.

Another cause of dehydration in cats is old age.  

Sometimes elderly cats are more lethargic and struggle from a lack of appetite.  

Senior cats may neglect eating and drinking as much as they need to in order to get all the nutrients they need, which can often result in dehydration.

But how do you know if your cat is dehydrated and could benefit from Pedialyte?  

The signs and symptoms of dehydration can be identified if you pay close attention to your cat.

First, notice its behavior:

  • continuous vomiting
  • diarrhea that extends past 24 hours

These may be an initial clue that your cat isn’t retaining enough fluids.  

Cat Skin Turgor Test

You can also check your cat by gently pinching or pulling a small amount of skin.  

If the skin springs back into place when you let go, that means the cat has enough fluids and won’t need any Pedialyte.  

 

However, if the skin slowly recoils back (like the video above), it’s a sure sign that your cat is dehydrated.

In addition, there’s another test that you can use before deciding on the necessity of Pedialyte.  

Take a look at your cat’s gums, they should be pink and moist.

If they seem dry, or if the gums don’t immediately return to pink after pressing on them lightly, your cat is probably a bit dehydrated.

With these factors in mind, you’ll be able to tell when to turn to Pedialyte at home.  

Treating your cat’s dehydration at home can be a big a great skill to have in your toolset because it enables you to help your cat recover more quickly.

How Does Pedialyte Work?

So now you know that Pedialyte can be used to target dehydration in cats.  

But how is it any different from water?

Well, it turns out that there are some major distinctions that give Pedialyte the edge.  

Pedialyte works at replenishing body fluids because it has a very specific composition that is much more complex than water.  

First of all, it is known as an oral electrolyte solution, which means two things:

  • It’s drinkable
  • It’s made up of multiple compounds including electrolytes.

Plain water has important minerals, but an oral electrolyte solution like Pedialyte contains additional components that are incredibly beneficial to the body.  

Electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, are elements that are vital in restoring the body’s ability to function properly.

This method of replenishing the body’s lost nutrients falls under the category of treatment known as oral rehydration therapy, or ORT.  

Pedialyte is a type of oral rehydration therapy because it offers additional components like:

  • electrolytes
  • sodium
  • fluids

Electrolytes are important for proper body functioning.  

Muscle tissue and neurons use electrolytes at the cellular level, all in an effort to keep important body systems working.  

In other words, electrolytes play a key role in helping muscles work smoothly.

Because a cat that is ill or dehydrated probably isn’t getting enough nutrients from its food intake, electrolytes can help replace some of the basics that are missing.  

In the big picture, this means that having these extra components included in a drink can help boost a dehydrated cat’s recovery.

This is the magic ingredient that makes Pedialyte much better adapted to rehydrating a cat than plain water!

What is Pedialyte Used For Traditionally?

When you get a grasp on how Pedialyte actually works, then if makes sense that it has been used for a variety of issues.  

And newsflash.

It’s not just for felines.

While it’s now commonly used at home to treat domestic animals for dehydration, Pedialyte was originally created for people.

Specifically, Pedialyte was created as an oral rehydration treatment to be used for sick kids.  

pedialyte for kids
“Creative Commons Day 208: Fluids” by Sean Freese is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Children struggling with health issues or without adequate nutritional resources are the largest benefactors of Pedialyte.  

For those with childhood illness, Pedialyte is used to counter and prevent dehydration.

It’s a reputable product, too.  

Pedialyte meets the requirements outlined by the Committee on Nutrition by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  

Because it was specifically created for children, it is generally considered safe to use as a home remedy in appropriate situations and dosages.

Pedialyte has even been used as an oral rehydration treatment in particularly dangerous outbreaks around the world.  

Communities that have experienced cholera and other extreme illness outbreaks have employed oral rehydration treatments like Pedialyte to assist in health initiatives.

Because Pedialyte contains useful electrolytes, it has also been used by competitive athletes.  

By providing additional electrolytes, Pedialyte fuels rehydration efforts by those undergoing significant exercise regimens.  

Many athletes prefer Pedialyte over other rehydration drinks like:

  • Gatorade: because the sugar component of Pedialyte is much lower, making it the healthier option.

Please don’t give your cat Gatorade.

Finally, there is another usage of Pedialyte that has gained in popularity during recent years.  

Many people are now turning to the solution as a remedy for hangovers!

Because many hangover symptoms are actually connected to dehydration, Pedialyte has been an effective option after a night of drinking.

There you have it.

Pedialyte is actually meant for use in children, but its advantages extend to other situations, too.  

So next time you’ve had a few too many drinks, you may be asking your cat’s permission to dip into the bottle of Pedialyte!

How Do I Give Pedialyte To My Cat?

As with anything, proper usage of this product is key.  

Since Pedialyte is not actually intended for cats, it’s important to regulate exactly how much you administer.  

Cat people know how cats are, they do things exactly how they want!  

The video below will show you a great way to keep your cat still if you need to use a syringe for hydration:

 

Here are a few guidelines that can help you give Pedialyte correctly to your cat:

1.) Use Flavorless Pedialyte

  • Remember that Pedialyte is marketed for children, which means that it is generally available in a variety of flavors that kids like.  
  • Most cats, however, won’t want anything to do with these artificially flavored options, so make sure you’ve got the flavorless kind.

2.) You’ll want to take your cat’s weight into account to know just how much Pedialyte to dish out.  

  • A widely accepted ratio is 3 milliliters per pound of body weight.
  • So if your cat weighs 10 pounds, administer 30 milliliters of Pedialyte.  This dosage does not need to be given all at once.
  • In fact, it is much more practical to try breaking up the dosage by giving 10 milliliters every 20 minutes or so until the dosage is complete.
  • Do this only 3 times per day – see a vet if your cat isn’t improving.

3.) Give the Pedialyte by syringe directly into your cat’s mouth.  

  • If you set the solution out in a dish nearby, your cat is quite unlikely to get the full dosage needed, especially if the cat isn’t feeling well already.  
  • Be proactive and administer the Pedialyte by syringe into the corner of the mouth.
  • This method also allows you to observe how much your cat swallows so you can keep track of the treatment.

4.) You can also put drops of Pedialyte in your cat’s wet food.

  • Give a teaspoon or tablespoon (depending on weight) every 30 minutes
  • Try adding drops to your cats front paws: they will lick it off!

Pedialyte should only be used as a home remedy once you have confirmed that your cat is suffering from dehydration.  

Never replace your cat’s normal nutritional regimen with Pedialyte.

Once you have given your cat a dosage of Pedialyte, pay close attention to behavioral changes to determine if the dehydration persists.

If your cat reacts with increased vomiting and/or diarrhea, or if the other symptoms of dehydration persist after 24 hours, you’ll want to have your cat checked out further by a veterinarian or take your cat to your local shelter or rescue organization for help.

Be sure to record any observations, along with the time and amount of Pedialyte you gave, so you can share this information with your vet.

Related Questions

How much Pedialyte can you give a cat?  A single dose of Pedialyte for a cat is determined by body weight.  Generally speaking, 2-4 milliliters of solution is administered for each pound of the cat’s body weight, with frequency dependent on the severity of dehydration.

How much water does a cat need to drink each day?  The average cat requires about 4 ounces of water per five pounds of body weight each day.  Thus, for a healthy, 10-pound cat, about 8 ounces of water should be consumed every day to ensure proper hydration.

How long does it take for dehydration to kill a cat?  A healthy cat can only live about 3 days without any water consumption.  If the cat is sick or enduring additional challenges, like excessive heat and humidity, dehydration can cause life-threatening consequences even sooner.

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