Summer is in full swing! While we enjoy the warm, sunny weather with our pets, it’s also important to be mindful of the hot weather and the fact that temperatures are rising.
Like humans, dogs can get dehydrated. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to ensure your pooch is consuming plenty of water each day in order to stay happy and healthy this summer.
How Much Water Do Dogs Need?
As a general rule of thumb, dogs should drink about one ounce of water per pound of body weight on a daily basis. For example, a 30-pound dog should drink about 30 ounces of water every day.
However, this could vary from dog to dog depending on factors such as health, diet, and activity levels. Dogs who are hot or exercising may need more water on a particular day; dogs who eat wet food will receive more moisture through their diet than those who only eat kibble, and may not need to drink as much water as a result.
As much as we want to prevent dog dehydration, it’s important to note that “more” isn’t necessarily “better.” Excessive water consumption could be a sign of underlying health issues, so talk to your vet if you notice your pup drinking or urinating more than usual without a clear explanation.
Measure your dog’s water consumption by taking note of how much water is in his bowl at the beginning of the day (or whenever you regularly fill his water bowl) compared to the end of the day. Don’t forget to keep the toilet lid closed so he doesn’t try to drink from the wrong bowl!
Causes of Dehydration in Dogs
Dehydration occurs when the body is losing more fluid than it’s taking in. While dogs don’t sweat like humans do, their bodies still lose water throughout the day through panting, breathing, urinating, and defecating. They can even lose water from minimal sweating through the paw pads.
If Fido doesn’t drink enough water to replace what he’s lost, he’ll become dehydrated. In addition to simply not drinking enough water, other causes of dehydration include heat stroke, diarrhea, and vomiting. Dehydration can also be a symptom of other health issues or illnesses.
Signs Your Dog is Dehydrated
If your dog isn’t drinking enough water as evidenced by the levels in his food bowl, there’s a good chance he’s dehydrated. However, dehydration can still occur even if he’s drinking water (if he’s sick, hot, or especially active, for example).
Signs your dog is dehydrated include:
- Loss of skin elasticity—if you pinch the skin between the shoulder blades and it doesn’t quickly fall back into place, your dog may be dehydrated.
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive panting
- Dry, sunken eyes
- Dry nose
- Sticky, dry gums
In addition to feeling your dog’s gums, you can test his capillary refill time. Gently press your finger against the gums, and remove it. The pressed area should appear white, and return to its normal pink right away. If your dog is dehydrated, the area will stay white much longer.
How to Keep Your Dog Hydrated
In order to keep your dog hydrated, make sure he’s consuming plenty of water.
Be sure he always has clean, cool water readily available by keeping his water bowl filled at home. Clean his water (and food) bowls regularly to prevent bacterial growth.
When you’re out for the day, bring along a portable, collapsible water bowl or even a dog water bottle.
If your dog is picky and less-than-enthusiastic about drinking water, you can try flavoring his water with bone broth to make it more appealing. If your dog prefers chewing to drinking, give him some ice cubes to play with.
In addition to providing plenty of water, make sure your dog is getting a well-balanced, moisture-rich diet. Supplement his food and water intake with PetHonesty’s Digestive Probiotics Chews, which support healthy digestion and nutrient absorption.
Keeping Your Cat Hydrated
Similar to dogs, cats should consume about one ounce of water per pound of body weight on a daily basis. Of course, this can vary—cats that eat wet food don’t need as much water as those who only eat dry food.
If your cat is acting picky and not drinking enough water, there’s probably a reason behind her refusal. To start out, make sure the water bowl is clean. As with dogs, you can also try flavoring her water with some bone broth if she’s still not interested.
Catering to her curiosity is never a bad idea. Since many cats are drawn to running water, it may also be worth investing in a filtered water fountain.