Pet Hydration Awareness Month: Is my pet dehydrated?

Pet Hydration Awareness Month: Is my pet dehydrated? What do I do if my pet is dehydrated?

Pet Hydration Awareness Month: Is my pet dehydrated? What do I do if my pet is dehydrated?
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It's been a sweltering summer here in Ontario! Our pets can't tap us on the shoulder and say "Hey, boss! I'm really thirsty!" like a human can. In a way, I wish my dog could talk, but I also think that if Hazel could talk she'd tell me all sorts of outlandish and unnecessary things. Maybe it's best that she can't speak English. But if she's dehydrated, it would be nice if she could let me know. 

It turns out that our pets tell us if they are dehydrated in different ways. Our human bodies are made up of 80% water, but our pet's bodies are made up of 50-60% water. Add being covered in fur on top of that, and pets can become dehydrated much faster than people. So, how do you know if your pet is dehydrated?

Pet Hydration Awareness Month: Is my pet dehydrated? What do I do if my pet is dehydrated?

What are the signs of dehydration in my pet?

Keep a close eye on your pet when the weather is warm to make sure your pet stays hydrated. Signs of dehydration include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Dry mouth
  • Lethargy
  • Sunken Eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of skin elasticity

What do I do if I think my pet is dehydrated?

Dehydration can cause decreased skin elasticity. If you 'tent' your pet's skin- lift the skin over the pet's shoulder blades and release it- healthy skin will immediately fall back to normal position. Dehydrated skin will not return to normal position, or return very slowly if the pet is not yet severely dehydrated.

If your pet is severely dehydrated, call your veterinary clinic right away. They may ask you to bring your pet in for an appointment or may have other suggestions about what you should do. Make sure to always have clean, fresh water available to your pet, especially on hot days. Keep an eye on your pet and make sure your pet is consuming enough water. Dehydration and heatstroke are different, so you should also know the signs of heatstroke in your pet.

What are some ways I can keep my pet hydrated?

The goal is to avoid dehydration in the first place. These are some ways you can keep your pet hydrated in the summer:

  • Pets prefer clean, fresh, and cool water. Make sure you are changing your pet's water at least once a day, and that the water bowls are cleaned regularly.
  • Take your dog for a swim! This encourages drinking. Make sure you are not swimming in a contaminated area and that you can teach your dog to swim.
  • Have multiple water bowls available for your pet.
  • If your pet prefers to drink out of the faucet and toilet, don't fight it. Any way they can get their recommended intake of water! Just make sure the sink and toilet are kept clean (and flushed!)
  • Some pets prefer drinking out of a pet water fountain because the water is flowing. If that's not in the budget you can try different water dishes until you find one your pet loves.
  • Add water or wet food to your pet's kibble, and feed several small meals a day to increase thirst.
  • If your pet goes outside make sure you have an outdoor water bowl with clean, fresh water. Keep it in a shaded area.
  • Always bring a travel water bottle for your pet when you go for a walk.

Pet Hydration Awareness Month: Is my pet dehydrated?

How much water should my pet drink a day?

It's hard to know exactly how much water your pet should have every day. A good guide to follow is to make sure your pet has one ounce of water for every pound of body weight. So if your dog is 10 pounds, that dog should have a minimum of 10 ounces of water per day. The best way to ensure this is to measure. You can either measure each serving of water you add to the bowl or measure how much water the bowl holds when it is full. 

Summer is a blast, but safety is just as important as having fun. July is National Pet Hydration Awareness Month! Please share these safety tips so we can help keep dogs and cats hydrated during the summer months!

Pet Hydration Awareness Month: Is my pet dehydrated? What do I do if my pet is dehydrated?

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