Is Your Pet Properly Hydrated?

Water is foundational to life and good health for pets as well as people. It is necessary for every function within our bodies from circulation and digestion to evacuating wastes and regulating body temperature. A lack of sufficient amounts of water can lead to dehydration putting organs such as kidney and heart at risk of damage. If not corrected dehydration will lead to death. With over 80% of our bodies being made up of water it is important to continue to replenish your pets water supply daily. How can you be sure your dog is getting the right amount of fresh water each day? Just how much is the right amount? That all depends on factors such as what size your pet is and what the temperature is outside.

The  basic principle to ensuring your pets proper hydration is to make clean, fresh water available at all times. Getting technical, most animals should have about 28 milliliters (one fortieth of a liter) of water per pound of your pet’s body weight per day. For example, a forty-pound dog needs about a liter of water every day; a ten-pound cat needs about a quarter of a liter. While, most healthy animals that have access to clean water will drink enough to keep themselves hydrated the amount needed will increase in warmer weather and it is good to know the signs of dehydration just in case you notice any animal, including your own at risk of dehydration. Classic signs include depression, lethargy, sunken eyes and dry gums. If you notice any of these symptoms then it is a good idea to take your pet to the vet immediately where your doc can give him an IV to help replenish the necessary fluids and help your pet recover quickly. They can also determine what may have caused the dehydration. 

With many pet owners it goes with out saying that your pet needs clean fresh water throughout the day, but with our busy lives there can be distractions. So, keep these tips in mind to help ensure that your pet is always at his best with an adequate supply of good quality water.

  • Water bowls and dispensers should be cleaned daily with dish soap before refilling. Bacteria can begin to grow quickly in standing water which can make your pet sick or give the water a funny taste which may discourage your pet from drinking it.
  • If you leave your pet alone for long periods, he may knock over his water bowl either on accident or on purpose as some playful pets have been known to do. Try to buy a bowl that looks sturdy with a weighted bottom to minimize the chance and have a back up bowl in another room where he can also drink from.
  • Choosing a bowl that is easy for your pet to use is also important. Make sure it is not too small or too big which can make it hard to reach the water once it is half drank or even cause smaller pets to fall in.
  • On warm days, water can evaporate quickly form the bowl; not to mention, your pet will be drinking more as their bodies are using up extra water to stay cool. Check your pets supply more frequently on hot days especially if your pet is outside, have his bowl checked every hour.
  • If your dog is not drinking on a hot day and looks lethargic, take him to the vet for possible dehydration and heat stroke.
  • Avoid leaving your dog outside unattended even if he is on a leash. A leash or chain can get wrapped around a tree or tangled on other objects, shortening the chain and making the water bowl out of reach. Check him often to avoid this.
  • Do not allow your pet to drink from the toilette which is filled with bacteria and may also contain chemicals from cleaning supplies.
  • Be sure to bring water and a bowl along when taking your pet out for a walk, on a trip to the dog park, or any outing where he will be away for a long period of time and in need of fresh water.
  • For exotic and unique pets, consult with the pet store where they were purchased or your local vet on ways to be sure they are receiving an adequate water supply.

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