Administering IV Fluid for Dogs

IV fluid administration may be necessary in some instances, when a dog is severely ill and there are no alternative options. The subcutaneous fluid administered may contain nutrients, medication and serum, which will be necessary to heal the pet. The treatment may be administered at a clinic or at home.

When Are IV Fluids Needed?

The administration of subcutaneous fluids may be needed in a number of instances such as:

  • Liver or kidney disease, when you need to control what your dog eats and allow the organs to rest and recover
  • The dog is unconscious and needs to be fed
  • The pet is severely dehydrated and immediate hydration is needed
  • The dog is hypoglycemic
  • When the dog has severe anemia
  • During and after surgery, especially if the surgery is more complex

The amount of fluids administered will depend on the dog's condition and the type of fluids that will be administered. The treatment may be needed for a couple of hours, or for a number of days.

How to Administer IV Fluids

Typically, IV fluids will be administered at a vet clinic, but you may also need to learn how to apply the treatment. You will have to purchase equipment which includes:

  • The IV fluid bag
  • The IV set, which is the connective tube that will make the link between the IV bag and the needle
  • A sterile needle

The IV fluid bag will be removed from the protecting package; there is a cap at one end of the bag. The cap will have to be removed, but you need to make sure it will stay sterile until you introduce the IV set. The IV set will have to be pressed in the hole of the IV bag. Make sure there are no leaks, so that all the fluid will enter the dog's system. Introduce a needle in the dog's back (in the shoulder blade area) or another area with loose skin. Connect the IV set to the needle.

Possible Complications

While administering IV fluids is typically safe, there may be a few side effects such as:

  • Infection, which may develop in the area where the needle is inserted and may be due to the bacteria that are present on the dog's skin; the infection will manifest through severe swelling, redness and subcutaneous pus accumulation. The infection can be treated with antibiotics, but it may be prevented by sterilizing the area where the IV needle is introduced.
  • Allergic reactions to the IV fluid.
  • Swelling where the needle is inserted; most dogs will have a lump, which will typically go away within two to six hours of the treatment.
  • Bruises, which should subside within a week after the treatment.
  • Air bubbles may get under the skin; this is not severe, but may cause a few hours of discomfort in your pet.