The Importance of Hydration

 

You spend ages comparing dog diets and making sure you purchase the safest toys and treats for your pup, but did you know that water may be the most important key in keeping your dog healthy?

Why water is so important for your dog

All mammals rely on water to keep their bodies functioning properly, and dogs are no exception. Water is essential to help carry out every important body function. Aiding digestion, regulating body temperature, cushioning internal organs and lubricating joints are just a few of the internal processes driven by water.

Did you know: Just like you, a dog’s body is around 80 percent water!

Encouraging your dog to drink water

Animals only drink water when they’re thirsty, and much of their water intake comes from their food. Unfortunately, dogs can’t tell us when they’re feeling thirsty, so you must ensure your dog has access to fresh, cool, clean water at all times.

Whether they are outside or inside, you need to check the water routinely. Make sure you remove any old water from the previous day before you fill it up with fresh water. This will ensure the water tastes nice and is free of bacteria.

There are some dogs who just won’t drink much water unless they are encouraged to do so. Sometimes us owners have to get creative when encouraging our pups to stay hydrated. Here are some of our suggestions:

  • If your dog likes to roam through your home, make sure you have plenty of water sources located throughout the space for them.
  • Add a small amount of low sodium chicken or beef broth to your dog’s water dish to entice them to drink more. This adds very few calories and sugar. You can also freeze broth into ice cubes and add them to the water that way.
  • Some dogs don’t drink enough water because their bowl may be difficult to drink out of. Invest in a quality water bowl that is the right size for your dog. This will make it easy for your pup to comfortably bend down and drink from the bowl.
  • Take bottles of water with you on a walk or when travelling.
  • Avoid exercising your dog in hot weather.
  • Automatic water bowls, pet fountains, and hardware that attaches to an outside spigot are great options for dog owners who work all day and aren’t home to fill up the water dishes.
  • Always offer your dog a bowl of clean, fresh water with every meal as a back-up.

 

 

Recognising canine dehydration 

Many people assume that dehydration and thirst are more or less the same. While it’s true that feeling thirsty is one of the ways our bodies remind us to hydrate, dehydration is actually a potentially life-threatening medical condition that doesn’t always have thirst as a symptom.
Canine Dehydration upsets the balance of electrolytes, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium, which can impact virtually every organ system in your dog’s body, including the GI tract, the central nervous system, muscles, kidneys, the respiratory tract, blood pressure and heart function.

Did you know? Some toy breed dogs such as Chihuahuas, Pekingese, and Yorkshire Terriers are more at risk of becoming dehydrated as they are prone to overheating.

Dehydration can be caused by a number of disorders and diseases as well as, unfortunately, some entirely preventable causes, such as being locked in a hot car.

If it seems your dog is not getting enough water daily, check for signs of dehydration. Symptoms of canine dehydration include:

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Reduced energy levels and lethargy.
  • Panting.
  • Sunken, darkened eyes.
  • Vomiting with or without diarrhea.
  • Dry nose.
  • Dry gums.
  • Thick saliva.
  • Loss of skin elasticity.
  • Lethargy

 

It’s vital that you seek veterinary attention if your dog shows any changes in their urination or drinking habits. This is absolutely crucial in the case of very young pets, senior and geriatric animals and pets who are chronically ill.