There’s a big emphasis on your pet’s nutrition, but of all the nutrients necessary to their survival water is number one.
Water helps pets maintain a healthy temperature, especially when they pant or sweat through their paws. Water is also essential for digestion, blood flow, waste removal, and sustaining healthy body tissue. In fact, water accounts for approximately 70% of a pet’s weight. With 70-90% of their body’s tissue consisting of water, adequate pet hydration is a big priority.
It’s easy to assume that your pet will simply drink as much as they need to in order to instinctively stay hydrated. That doesn’t mean, however, that they won’t benefit from a little extra help and guidance. Since pets lose most of what they drink in their urine, stool, and respiration, it’s important to understand what they need to stay balanced.
Paying close attention to pet hydration is a must, especially during the hot summer months. Your pet’s size, diet, age, and lifestyle will help inform their daily requirement of water. Weather conditions also play a part.
Generally speaking, a healthy pet should drink between 0.5 and 1 ounce of water per pound of water weight. In other words, a 60 pound dog should drink anywhere between 30-60 ounces of water each day, or 3.75-7.5 cups daily.
Clean, fresh water is more enticing to drink than standing, murky, slimy, and potentially bacteria-filled water. Your pet’s water bowls, dishes or fountains should be replenished throughout the day.
Knowing their water bowl measurements will help you stay on top of what your pet drinks throughout a 24-hour period. Before you pour out and refill their water, take a quick measurement and compare it with what they started out with earlier in the day.
Of course, your pet’s daily quota will change based on how active they are, and how hot the weather gets. If you are headed out for a hike, be sure to stop frequently to encourage drinking out of their travel bowl. Even if they are simply hanging around the yard on a super hot day, your pet will require a bit of prodding to ensure they don’t become dehydrated.
Also, never leave your pet in a parked vehicle, avoid exertion during the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, and encourage your pet to drink after any exercise.
Dehydration can be a potentially life-threatening condition, affecting the major organs and even causing death. Signs of dehydration include:
Dry, tacky gums
Weakness, lethargy, or collapse
Loss of skin elasticity
Some animals that suffer from bladder infection, kidney disease, diabetes, Cushing’s syndrome or cancer can become dehydrated more easily.
If you’re concerned that your pet has an underlying health condition that affects adequate pet hydration, please let us know. We’re always here for you at The Pet’s Place Animal Hospital.