Many of us lead hectic, busy lives where we’re out of the home for a portion of the day and not able to monitor accurately how much our pets are drinking. But as dedicated pet owners, we always want to make sure that our pets are getting enough fresh water to keep them healthy.
IS MY PET DEHYDRATED?
Just like us, our pets are made up of mostly water- nearly 80% of a dog’s body weight is water! Cats and dogs need water for many of the most important biological functions that keep them healthy and happy. Water supports the kidneys, keeps the skin healthy, helps the heart and circulation, and hundreds of others important functions in animals.
If your pet isn’t getting the water it needs, dehydration can quickly set in. Especially in the warm summer months, animals can lose a lot of water through exercising, panting, and trying to keep themselves cool. The signs of dehydration in pets are easily recognisable, and something that pet owners can check themselves with little difficulty:
- Skin tent: Pinch and pull upwards on a section of skin at the back of your pet’s neck, and then release. In an animal that is well hydrated, the skin will settle back into place quickly and smoothly. A dehydrated animal’s skin will return to position in a much slower manner, and may keep it’s “pinched” appearance
- Increased heart rate
- Dry mouth and sticky, tacky gums
- Weakness, lethargy, even collapse
- Sunken eyes
HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD MY PET BE GETTING?
There are a lot of factors that influence how much water your pet should be drinking. Broadly speaking, most pets need about 50 millilitres of water per kilogram of body weight per day. That would mean an average 30 kilo Labrador would need 1.5 litres, or about 6 cups of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Exercise, weather and diet all play important roles in your pet’s hydration, too. Just like us, your pet needs more water when it’s extra warm outside, or after a vigorous play session.
Depending on what your pet eats, they may drink more or less. If your dog or cat eats a canned, moist food, they will drink less water because the moisture content of the canned food is so high. An animal that eats biscuits will drink more water to make up their daily requirement.
CAN I GET MY PET TO DRINK MORE?
Giving your pet free access to clean, fresh water is the best way to make sure that they are well hydrated. Here are some helpful hints to make sure that you pet is drinking enough:
- Empty and clean water bowls daily
- Add ice cubes to water bowl. The temperature change combined with ice acting as a new toy will keep your pet interested and drinking more
- Purchase a water bowl suited to your pet’s size, preferably one with a wide, heavy base to prevent tipping and spilling
- Keep multiple water bowls in places your pets frequent. A water bowl by the food bowl, outside in the garden, and other places your pet spends a lot of time will encourage more drinking
- Make sure bowls are topped up throughout the day
- Purchase a smart device that helps you track your pet’s water consumption. A health monitoring device, like Felcana, is perfect to keep you informed on exactly how much your pet is drinking and work out what is a normal and healthy amount for your animal.