July has been designated as Pet Hydration Awareness Month. As the temperatures soar and we consider soaking up the rays of sunshine, we need to think about the effect the heat can have on our four-legged friends.
Whether you’re planning a summer road trip with your pup or simply intending to relax around your home during these sweltering days, it is vital to know how much water your dog should be drinking on a daily basis and spot the signs of dehydration.
As humans, we have been told we should consume approximately eight glasses of water each day. How does this vary for dogs?
How much water should a dog drink per day?
In general, your dog should drink approximately one ounce of water for each pound of body weight. Make sure their water bowl is filled with fresh, clean water and wash the bowl at least twice a day.
There are several factors which could affect the amount of water your dog needs to drink. These can include:
Activity. If you have an extremely active breed or a dog who simply loves to run around, your pup will require more water to compensate for the water loss during exercise.
Weather. On a particularly hot or humid day, your dog is less likely to retain water due to an increased level of panting and salivation.
Diet. If your pup predominantly eats canned dog food, remember that these typically contain up to 65-70% water – conversely, a dog who eats dry food will require additional water to stay hydrated.
Even if the rule of thumb indicates that an ounce of water for every pound of body weight is enough, you should still keep a close watch on your dog to ensure they are receiving the water they need.
In the summer, it can be useful to have a separate water bowl in your yard to ensure your dog doesn’t need to wait to go back into the house to drink.
How can I tell if my dog is dehydrated?
Every mammal needs the right amount of water to function properly. Unlike humans, your dog can’t just grab a bottle of water from the refrigerator – as their guardians, it is up to us to make sure they have adequate water available.
What causes dehydration in dogs?
Even if you are diligent and provide your pooch with plenty of water, there may be other reasons why your dog is suffering from dehydration.
As one example, a consequence of a bout of vomiting or diarrhea is a loss of water within your dog’s body. Other minor illnesses or fevers can contribute to this, too.
Dehydration could also be an indicator of a wider and more serious problem, such as kidney problems (for example, kidney disease) or diabetes; in these scenarios, the most sensible solution is to take your dog to the veterinarian to be assessed, even if it is just as a precaution.
Summer is a time when all of us – humans and canines alike – can relax and enjoy ourselves and make the most of the better weather.
Importantly, we can do this while making sure our pets remain safe, healthy and well-hydrated!