How to Keep Your Pet Properly Hydrated
With the temperatures soaring it is little surprise that July has been marked as National Pet Hydration Awareness Month. Here is what you need to know about why ensuring that your pet is properly hydrated is so important, and what you can do to help.
What is Dehydration and What Causes It?
Dehydration is a fairly common problem, but it can be life-threatening if it isn’t addressed fairly quickly. It occurs when your pet’s body is using more water than she is consuming, causing her cells to have insufficient fluid to function properly. There can be a variety of reasons why dehydration occurs. It could be that your pet isn’t drinking enough, or because she is passing more fluid than usual. In summer, dehydration is usually caused because your pet isn’t drinking enough water compared to how much time she is spending outdoors in the heat. However, in some instances, dehydration is also a symptom of a more serious underlying cause such as diabetes, kidney disease or even cancer.
Signs of Dehydration in Pets
There are a variety of different symptoms that indicate that your pet is suffering from dehydration and requires urgent attention to reverse her condition. These include the following:
Dry, sticky gums
Slow capillary refill (the time it takes for your pet’s gums to return to normal color after you have gently pressed on them)
Loss of skin elasticity
Loss of appetite
Reduced energy levels
If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it is important that you get her checked by your veterinarian urgently, particularly if she is also having issues urinating.
What You Can do to Keep Your Pet Properly Hydrated This Summer
Fortunately, there are a number of different things that you can do to help ensure that your pet remains properly hydrated throughout the summer months. Here are our top tips for some of the most effective ways to boost your pet’s hydration.
Give her access to clean, fresh water at all times
This is the single most important thing that you can do to keep your pet healthy and hydrated this summer. Use more than one bowl if it is particularly hot, and place them in different, shaded locations so that your pet doesn’t have to travel too far for a drink. Check on them regularly and top them up as needed. Remember that weather and temperature will denote how much your pet needs to drink, and it is normal for her to consume more on some days than others.
Try and monitor how much she is drinking
On average a dog requires around 1oz of water per day per each pound of her body weight. Cats require less, around 3.5 to 4.5oz of water per 5lbs of weight. It is just as important to check that your pet isn’t drinking too much water as it is that she is consuming enough. Too much could also indicate an underlying health problem, and in some cases, excessive fluid intake can prove deadly.
Clean your pet’s bowl daily
Bacteria can accumulate in even the cleanest-looking water bowls, so it is important that you properly clean your pet’s bowl daily, especially in summer when some bacteria find it easier to breed.
Take bottled water out with you
If you are heading out with your pet, whether for a journey to a destination or just a walk, be sure to take some bottled water and a dish that she can drink of out with you too. This will help ensure her fluid levels are topped up at all times.
Wait to exercise
Pets lose fluid when they exercise too, and the amount that they lose increases when they are exercising in high temperatures. For this reason, vets recommend that you save your walks and activities for cooler parts of the day.
Make some ice pole treats
Summer is a great time to make some treats for your pet to enjoy and many recipes are freeze-able which will also help you to hydrate your pet. Consider making frozen broth cubes or peanut butter popsicles – both are a huge hit with canine companions, while frozen tuna sticks are a firm favorite with felines.
If you would like more advice on how to keep your pet hydrated this summer, contact The Little Cat Clinic in La Mesa, CA where our friendly and knowledgeable team of animal experts will be happy to help (619) 547-0900.