Is your dog getting sufficient water?

Is your dog getting sufficient water?

We all know how essential water is for our own human bodies and how miserable we feel if we get dehydrated, but have you ever thought about dehydration in your dog?

Summer time temperatures are here and we are out more and more with our dogs, but many don’t realize just how much water our dogs loose naturally throughout the day…after all, we don’t see sweat on their forehead or chest like you see on humans.  Dogs sweat through their paws, when they pant and when they potty.  It only takes 10-15% loss of their body water for your dog to get sick and even die.  The reported rule of thumb is that dogs need at least 1 ounce for each pound they weight…so a 20lb dog needs more than 2 cups of water a day.  That seems like a lot, right? 

BUT…we do need to monitor water consumption to ensure a dog does not drink so much that is sloshes around in the tummy which could lead to potentially deadly Bloat (a topic for another day).  We also need to ensure that dogs don’t ingest too much water when they swim…chlorine, dirty lake/stream water, salt water…none of these are good for our dogs either.

What are symptoms of dehydration? Reduced energy, not eating, sunken eyes, dry mouth, pale gums, reduced elimination and it you lift the skin between your dog’s shoulder blade and it holds that position rather than returning to its normal position, dehydration has set in.  Loose stools and diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration.

Tips to get more fluid into your dog..Watch their water bowl to monitor how much they drink.  If you feed kibble (dry food), all the water is extracted to get that crunchy nugget formed.  We always recommend owners add some warm water to their dog’s food to increase the palatability and digestion and to increase their water intake.  If you feed raw meals or fresh foods, you are already ahead of the game since there is a higher moisture content in raw and fresh foods.  Oh, and close the toilet…even though its a source of water, it isn’t a clean source of water!

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