Nutritional Facts

HYDRATION

Categories: Nutrition

As we move into the months of warmer weather and increased outdoor activities with our pets, I thought it wise to visit the subject of hydration and the dangers of dehydration.

Like we humans, thirst is not the only symptom of dehydration for our pets. Thirst is our body’s way of nudging us into taking in some fluids. However, your pet might not be thirsty at all and still may be dehydrated.

Why is hydration so important? According to Veterinarian Laura Playforth, dehydration in dogs is “a common, potentially life-threatening condition. It’s the result of not drinking enough water and electrolytes or losing too much fluid. It requires immediate veterinary attention. If left untreated dehydration can cause serious organ damage and even death.”

It is also significant to note that unwell dogs have a higher risk of dehydration. However, the most common causes for this malady in pets is lack of fresh water and prolonged exposure to hot weather.  A quick way to check if your pet is dehydrated is to elevate their skin at the back of the neck; if the skin remains up and does not return to its previous position, your pet could be dehydrated. If your pet is experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, extreme panting or drooling these are also signs of dehydration, and your pet should be taken to the vet, as additional tests may be necessary. The dehydration may be an indication of something more serious.

A safe estimate of daily water intake (especially in the summer months) is your dog should drink approximately 1.8 ounces of water per pound of weight. So, a 40-pound dog should be drinking 72 ounces of water each day – equivalent to 9 eight-ounce glasses of water. It is therefore imperative to have more than one water source for your pets and that the water is changed regularly throughout the day. Your pet also needs to replenish the electrolytes lost due to dehydration, so I advise you to check with your veterinary professional on the best way to replenish electrolytes for your specific pet.

The best way to keep your pets hydrated is to be observant, provide plenty of fresh, clean water, and do not endanger your pet with prolonged heat exposure, and seek immediate veterinary advice when needed.  Taking these few extra measures can keep your dog properly hydrated, allowing you and your pet to enjoy a happy and healthy spring and summer.

AAFCO; Association of American Feed Control Officials logo; D.O.G. Certified and Do Only Good (D.O.G.) Pet Food membership
APPA; American Pet Products Association logo; D.O.G. Certified and Do Only Good (D.O.G.) Pet Food membership
WPA; World Pet Association logo; D.O.G. Certified and Do Only Good (D.O.G.) Pet Food membership

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