July is pet hydration month. Here in Minnesota, land of 10,000+ lakes, water is everywhere but why is water so important? How much water does a pet need? How can you tell if your pet is dehydrated? How can you keep your pet hydrated?
Why is pet hydration important?
The job of water is to move important nutrients into and out of cells in the body. Water helps with digestion, and helps the body absorb nutrients. If a pet becomes dehydrated and the condition persists, the body will start to shut down and eventually lead to death. Dehydration is a serious condition, not to be taken lightly.
How much water does a pet need?
The body of a dog or cat is made up of about 80% water, whereas a human body is about 60% water. The basic rule of thumb is 1:1 – one ounce of water per pound of pet. Using this formula, a forty pound dog would need about forty ounces of water a day. Most healthy pets will drink enough water on their own if it is available to them.
What are the signs of dehydration?
The easiest way to see if your pet is dehydrated is to pick up a loose fold of skin around the shoulder area. Pull it up gently, and let it go. If the skin falls right back into shape, similar to an elastic reaction, your pet is in good shape as far as being hydrated. If your pet is dehydrated, the skin will return to its place very, very slowly, not elastic like at all. If you suspect your pet is suffering from dehydration, please contact your veterinarian immediately. Pets can become dehydrated any time of the year, not just outside on a hot day, so please monitor your pets.
How can you keep your pet hydrated?
At our house, pet hydration is a priority. We have five water bowls. We used to have one inside and one outside, but when Katie started having mobility issues we placed bowls around the house. Mom found we all were drinking more water, so we have kept our bowls scattered about. We tend to drink more from the bowls with filtered and/or running water too. We have a PetSafe fountain in the upstairs bathroom we all love to drink from. We have two filtered water Torus bowls in our two main rooms, oddly, we prefer to drink from the smaller one! We have our old stainless steel bowl in the laundry room, and we have a bowl outside on the deck. If your pet has wet food in their diet, it is an excellent way to help keep hydrated as it is made of 70-80% water.
What are some water dangers?
- Make sure your dog doesn’t drink a large amount of water at once as it can cause bloat.
- Be careful of dogs drinking from ponds and lakes as there can be dangerous plants and algae in the water which can even result in death.
- Don’t let your dog drink out of puddles. Who knows what chemicals and other things are in a puddle.
- Always keep water bowls washed and clean to prevent the build up of bacteria.
- Change filters in filtered bowls on a regular basis.
- Don’t use metal bowls outdoors. In the summer they can become extremely hot, in the winter, tongues can freeze to the metal.
Always make sure your pets have plenty of fresh clean water. It is so important for their health, and in the summer, it helps keep them cool! If you are out and about with your pet, make sure and bring along water. If you are thirsty, chances are so is your pet! Water is refreshing for pets and people!
**I’m not a veterinarian. The information I have provided on pet hydration is from my own life experiences. If you have questions about hydrating your pet, or dehydration, please consult with your veterinarian.**