My girlfriend’s dog has been sick the past couple of days. Dehydrated, lethargic, etc. This got me thinking when I was doing several searches online for how to adequately keep him hydrated. By doing several Google searches I found a LOT of information on sick pets, dehydration, vomiting, etc. It got me thinking, that in a SHTF scenario, there may not be any powdered, jarred, etc. commercial electrolyte supplements around help adequately rehydrate someone if they are sick and need assistance. What I found was much easier to make than I had anticipated. Additionally, I am sure there have been other blog posts out there on this. This is just my discovery…
First, let’s define what an electrolyte supplement is and what it does:
Electrolytes are the electrically charged particles, in this case, ‘ions’ in our bodily fluids. They are used in the creation of electrical energy that our body requires for our body to basically function. Most commonly, electrolytes help the body in the transmission of impulses and muscular expansion and contractions… If electrolytes are not present when the body is overheated, the body’s performance is negatively compromised and will not function correctly… (This is my layman’s definition, by the way).
Why electrolytes need to be replaced in the body:
Electrolytes need to be restored in the body to help restore the proper ratio of your body’s water consistency to it’s correct proportion. i.e electrolytes to proper fluid level. Sort of like a lead acid battery. You need to have a proper balance in order to function correctly. Further, electrolyte and fluid function are regulated by the kidneys, which I just learned also regulates thirst. (You learn something new every day).
So, what conditions would allow you to deplete your electrolyte levels:
- Prolonged exposure to the hot sun
- Extended physical exertion and overheating of the body. (two hours or more at a time).
- Lack of fluid intake due to availability or other reason
- Being sick. i.e fever, diarrhea, vomiting, etc…
The not so obvious:
- Changes in your diet or going on an extreme diet to lose weight
- Side effects of medicines you may be taking. (Not a doctor so I cannot and won’t get into the specifics, you should check with a physician to learn more about what you may be taking affects you).
- Severe burns on the body. More specifically 10% of the body and above….
- Diseases affecting the kidneys. i.e. Diabetes, infections, cancer, etc.
- Some types of surgeries… Again, not a doctor so I cannot and won’t get into the specifics, you should check with a physician to learn more about what you may be taking affects you.
There may be more reasons, but these were the most common I was able to identify…
So how can you recharge your battery with fresh electrolytes? Gatorade is what most people I know drink. They run right out and buy a plastic bottle full. If you don’t want to spend the $2.00 – $4.00 per plastic bottle though, what can you do? Well, you can eat foods high in potassium, sodium, and drink a large glass of water with it to help process/digest it.
A quick Google search revealed a plethora of places to get recipes for making a “Gatorade like” electrolyte supplement. Here is a small list of foods that have sodium and potassium that you can eat to replenish electrolytes:
- For Dogs: http://www.k911.biz/Petsafety/Dehydration.htm
- Wellness Mama: http://wellnessmama.com/2575/natural-sports-drink-alternatives-recipe/
- HQ Performance: http://blog.hqperformance.com/2012/09/20/better-than-gatorade-homemade-sports-drink-alternatives/
- Living on a Dime: http://www.livingonadime.com/homemade-gatorade-recipes/
- Food.com: http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-gatorade-93652
- DavidHayes.net: http://www.davidhays.net/running/sportsdrink.html
- One Good Thing by Jillee: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/04/make-your-own-homemade-gatorade.html
There were hundreds more. This is just a small cross section. One thing is certain, though. It cost me only a few pennies to make a solution for Jake (Girlfriend’s dog) and am on my second small batch. Basically, not costing a thing because I had what I needed here. So it is safe to say that if you make your own electrolyte supplement from what you have at home or from storage prepped ingredients, you’re going to save a lot of money, assuming you buy those $2.00 – $4.00 Gatorades and like products…