Dog drinking water

Can My Dog Be Dehydrated?

Summer’s heating, folks!  Just the thought of it makes me thirsty!  While the temperatures increase, it’s important to take note of how much water your dog is drinking each day.  Ensuring that your dog is hydrated this summer will keep him healthy and alive, literally!

Many people think that dogs will self regulate how much water they need and don’t give their dog’s water intake a second thought.  That statement has some truth to it in that if your dog is thirsty, he’ll usually drink but, by not monitoring how much water your dog is drinking, you could be turning a blind eye to the fact that something is seriously wrong.  So, how much water does a dog need anyway? Well, just like you, your dog needs to drink half his body weight in water.  However, you really use that rule as a starting point.  Why? Well, there are other factors in your dog’s life that will require him to drink more or less.  

  1. With summer in full swing, weather is the first thing to keep in mind.  When it’s hot, your dog needs more water.  Heat stroke and dehydration are largely preventable, especially if you are doing your part in helping your dog stay hydrated.  Exercise is another factor.  
  2. The more your dog exercises, the more water he will need to keep him hydrated.  It’s biology 101, friends.  After you workout, you should be drinking more water too.
  3. Diet is another factor that should not be overlooked.  A diet of raw or can food provides more moisture to your dog thereby helping to keep your dog hydrated a little more.  This is important to note if you have a dog that has an aversion to water.  Switching from kibble to raw or canned may be necessary.
  4. Is your dog on medication for one reason or another? If so, you should definitely speak to your the veterinarian about how this may impact your dog’s water intake.  It’s something we don’t always consider but think of how many times you get cotton mouth while taking prescribed medication.  Dogs are no different.  
  5. Do you have a puppy? If you have a puppy, your puppy may need about a half a cup of water every couple of hours.  Of course, the above mentioned factors could potentially stump this rule as well as the size and breed of your dog.  

Some dogs just aren’t too fond of water.  Maybe they don’t like the taste and maybe they have just developed an aversion to it.  No matter what the reason is, there are ways you can encourage your dog to drink more water.

  1. Start with a clean bowl.  Seriously.  How would like to drink out of the same dirty cup each day?
  2. Invest in a water fountain.  Water fountains keep the water tasting fresh.  You may have heard of finicky cats when it comes to water but some dogs are finicky, too.
  3. Switch your dog’s diet.  As mentioned above, a raw or canned food diet has moisture built in so if hydration is an issue, this may be what your dog needs.  He might like the taste better, too.
  4. If you must stick with kibble for one reason or another, try pouring a little water over your dog’s kibble.  This is a great sneaky way to get more moisture in your dog’s diet.
  5. Pour chicken broth into your dog’s water bowl.  You don’t have to go crazy, either. A table spoon will be just enough to attract your dog’s sniffer.
  6. Keep it fresh.  Filling your dog’s bowl once a day is kind of lazy and your dog probably doesn’t appreciate it.  Try to to empty your dog’s bowl every few hours.  Avoid just topping it off.  
  7. Ice, ice baby.  Many dogs love their water  nice and cold.  Who wouldn’t, really.  
  8. Make water easily accessible. This is especially important for senior dogs that may have troubles with mobility or for dogs that are outside.  The easier it is for your dog to get his drink, the more likely he is to actually do so.

What else should I be aware of?

First of all, be aware that many health conditions in dogs, such as diabetes and parvo, may include a symptom of not drinking enough water, or none at all.  Dehydration can certainly signify that something else is going on.  Additionally, there are some signs that you should look out for.  Symptoms of dehydration may include loss of appetite, lethargy, and depression.  Anytime something seems off with your pet, please seek immediate medical attention.  Any delay in doing so could result in a highly unfavorable outcome.

Keeping your pet hydrated is not always easy but should always be a priority.  So, this summer keep tabs on your pup’s water intake and encourage him to hydrate himself whenever you can and in whatever way possible. Keeping your pet hydrated could save his life.