Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Clinical Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration


  • Decreased urine output;
  • Dark, concentrated and/or strong-smelling urine;
  • Frequent urinary tract infection;
  • Dry lips/mouth and thick, stringy saliva;
  • Constipation;
  • Dizziness when sitting up or standing;
  • Confusion or change in mental status;
  • Weight loss of 1.5 kg (3.5lb) in less than seven days;
  • Fever;
  • Decreased skin elasticity, such as on the arm that, when gently pinched, does not spring back into place but remains “pinched up” when released; and
  • Sunken eyeballs.