by Loree Walden, Marketing Manager, Yavapai Humane Society
July is National Pet Hydration Awareness Month! Summer brings hotter temperatures and lots of outdoor activities.
One the most important responsibilities you have is to ensure your furry family member stays hydrated. Just like humans, pets require water to survive, and dehydration can lead to serious complications. Water makes up 80% of your pet’s body weight, so make sure they stay hydrated.
Tips to help keep your pet hydrated:
- Provide access to clean, fresh water at all times. Clean the bowl and change the water daily. Keep numerous bowls of water in various places, so they always have water available.
- Encourage your pet to drink by adding water to their food or providing wet food instead of dry food.
- If your pet is reluctant to drink, try adding a few ice cubes or a couple drops of sodium free chicken broth.
- When outside with your pet, always bring enough water for them.
How much water does your pet need? It depends on such things as their age, weight and activity level. As a general rule, dogs require approximately 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day, while cats need at least 3.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight per day.
- Temperature regulation: Water helps regulate their body temperature.
- Digestion: Water is essential for the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- Kidney function: Water helps flush toxins out of their body through the kidneys.
- Joint lubrication: Water helps lubricate joints and cushions organs.
- Overall health: Proper hydration helps maintain a pet’s overall health and well-being.
Dehydration in pets can lead to serious health problems:
- Heatstroke: Dehydration can increase a pet’s risk of heatstroke, especially in hot weather.
- Poor immune system: Dehydration can weaken a pet’s immune system, making them more susceptible to illness.
- Death: Water is critical for their survival.
One way to determine if your pet is dehydrated is to check their skin elasticity. Lift the skin at the back of their neck and release it. If it snaps back quickly, your pet is sufficiently hydrated. However, if it takes some time to return to its original position, your pet likely is dehydrated.
Remember, a hydrated pet is a healthy pet.