Pet Hydration Awareness
July is Pet Hydration Awareness Month, and with the ever-rising summer temperatures, it’s the perfect time for you to study up on how to keep your pet hydrated. Many of the things we’ll talk about today apply to both cats and dogs, but because dogs tend to be out in the heat with their owners more, our focus will remain primarily on our canine friends.
The ASPCA recommends that dogs drink at least one ounce of water for each pound of body weight per day, so a 32 lb. dog would require at least 32 ounces of water to remain properly hydrated. This is equivalent to an entire quart of water for a relatively small dog.
The importance of keeping your dog hydrated cannot be overstated, as, according to the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM), a dog who loses even a tenth of their water can suffer fatal dehydration. So, for those of you who leave your dog at home for extended periods without several ounces of water, or go for a long walk, and think, “I can give them water when I get home” — it’s time to rethink your approach.
Below, we discuss three tips on how to keep your dog hydrated, healthy, and happy this summer.
Make Hydration Easy for Your Dog
Many of us have dogs who are couch potatoes, easily distracted, or simply unwilling to drink water. Your dog doesn’t take time to think about the importance of staying hydrated the way humans do, and if walking to their water bowl takes them away from a squirrel they are barking at, or a toy they are playing with — they may choose to not hydrate at all.
So make it easy for them. Keep water bowls in more than one place. Maybe even one in each room. In placing bowls in easy to access areas, you encourage dogs to realize water is easily accessible and positively reinforce their need for proper hydration (since drinking it will help them feel their best).
Stay Inside on Especially Hot Days
While proper exercise is important for both you and your dog, it’s important to limit their exposure to harsh temperatures. Most days, you can limit their walks to early in the morning or in the evening to ensure they go out at the right temperatures. However, if this isn’t possible and the heat feels too hot for you to handle, your dog likely feels the same. Not only that, but most dogs wear a full coat of fur and can only cool off through panting or the external sources you provide.
If you do need to go out for an extended period in extreme temperatures, make sure you carry plenty of bottled water and offer it to your dog regularly to keep them properly hydrated.
Make Hydration a Treat
Certain juices are okay in moderation and can be added to your dog’s water to ensure they are staying hydrated. A fun and heat-beating way of doing this is by freezing fruit juices in ice trays. Blueberries and cranberries provide great antioxidants. Orange juice cubes, strawberry, or apple juice are also safe in moderation, but we must emphasize moderation here. Too much sugar is not a recommended part of your dog’s diet. Also, avoid any form of grapes, juice or otherwise. Grapes can be toxic to dogs.
If you would rather skip fruit juice and sugar entirely, you could try adding a bit of low-sodium beef or chicken broth to the water bowl. This is sure to keep your dog properly hydrated and happy.
Keeping your pet hydrated during summer months doesn’t have to be difficult and it is a great time to learn and encourage healthy habits for your pet. If you would like to learn more about pet nutrition and how pets stay hydrated, be sure to schedule an appointment with your local Pet Wants Nutrition Specialist.