Every pet owner knows that a healthy pet needs fresh, clean drinking water, every single day. Many are also aware of the strange, often picky, drinking habits that cats and dogs may have. But, as the summer temperatures continue to rise, it’s important to understand the vitality of proper, healthy hydration and the threat of dehydration.
It goes without saying – water is absolutely essential to all life. Animals, like people, need water to help keep their organs hydrated and to help flush out toxins. When it comes to pets, cats especially need to maintain adequate amounts of water, as they are more prone to kidney problems such as kidney stones and even kidney failure.
How Much Water Does Your Pet Need?
Your pet should be drinking water every day. The amount of water that they need to intake depends on their weight, level of activity and diet. As long as fresh, clean water is provided, daily, dogs are usually pretty good at self-regulating their hydration. However, with these hot, summer temperatures, they should be drinking more than usual to stay fully hydrated.
Cats are a bit pickier with their water. Most rely on their food for their water intake. Now, if they were in the wild, this wouldn’t be a problem, as raw meat contains up to 70% water. However, when cats rely on dry food, which only contains about 10% water, then you need to make sure that they are properly supplementing.
Signs of Dehydration Include:
- Dry Mouth
- Sunken Eyes or Bags Under Eyes
- Loss of Appetite
Any sudden change in behavior is cause for concern and should be addressed by your veterinarian. If your pet’s drinking behavior changes suddenly, they start drinking too much water, or stop drinking water it could be a sign of a more serious illness.
If You Believe Your Pet is Suffering from Dehydration:
- Give them fresh, clean water and check to make sure that they have it every single day.
- Monitor your pet’s drinking habits, especially in the heat!
- Do the skin test – gently grab a fold of their skin (on the back of their neck or between their shoulder blades). If the skin quickly goes back into place, then your pet should be alright, but if the skin goes back slowly, then they could be suffering from dehydration.
- Ask your veterinarian.
How to Keep Your Pet Hydrated
If your pet seems uninterested in drinking water or drinks very little water (especially after running around in the sun), here are a few things that you can try to get them to drink:
- Change the water ensuring that it is fresh every day.
- Change their water bowl. Sometimes, the type of bowl, be it metal, plastic, ceramic, etc., can alter their interest.
- Change the location of their water bowl, but be sure that it is kept out of direct sunlight.
- Try a pet water fountain so that they have a constant stream of clean, fresh, running water. This will also keep the water cool and may taste better since it’s filtered water.
- Add wet food to your pet’s diet, or try adding water to their dry food. Wet foods can be up to 80% water.