Why Proper Hydration is Crucial for Dogs:
Water is vital for a dog's overall health and well-being, as it plays several key roles in its bodily functions. From regulating body temperature to aiding digestion and promoting healthy organ function, water is necessary. Dogs require proper hydration to prevent heatstroke, dehydration, and other potentially life-threatening conditions.
As we said above regulating body temperature is a vital function of hydration. We would like to share a few extra considerations on this point.
Dogs have a higher internal body temperature than we do, which is right around 101 degrees fahrenheit which makes it easier for them to overheat.
Dogs cannot sweat the way we do. Sweating is a huge component of how we cool down. They sweat through their paws. Which, fun fact, is why dog's paws generally smell like corn chips.
The primary way they cool their bodies down is through panting. This process requires a dog to be hydrated in order to function. Evaporating moisture on their tongues, and in their lungs cools them down. Cooler water will help them cool down better.
Dogs need about one ounce of water per pound of body weight. Just for context a 70 lb dog needs roughly half a gallon of water per day. However there are many things that effect how much water a dog needs such as fur length, activity level, and climate just to name a few. We've had clients who are golden retrievers or malamutes drink way more than the prescribed amount.
Signs of Dehydration in Dogs:
There are several signs of dehydration in dogs and by being aware of these symptoms, you can take prompt action to rehydrate your dog and prevent further complications. Remember that some of these symptoms can have other causes as well.
Dry mouth and gums
Loss of skin elasticity
Lack of urine
If you recognize these symptoms in your dog, take action by monitoring their hydration levels and by providing them with clean and fresh water.
If you want to know more about keeping your dog safe we recommend the RedCross First Aid Course. It's $25 and takes about 30 minutes. We think it's worth it!
Here is the link to the course:
Encouraging Dogs to Drink More Water:
There are several ways you can encourage your dog to stay hydrated:
1. Carrying water for outdoor activities:
Make sure you carry water during your outdoor activities such as hikes,especially during extreme activities- and take water breaks consistently all throughout. If your pup becomes really thirsty be careful they don't drink water too fast because it can cause issues.
2. Automatic Waterers:
Investing in a pet waterer, such as an automatic gravity-fed or fountain-style water dispenser can be a great investment for the wellness of your dog. Pet waterers provide a continuous flow of water, making it easier for you and your dog, as it provides water without any assistance.
We have a few different types of water bowls here at Varro Pet Services. The pups here run around a lot and need a lot of water and each area needs a water station.
We use a 3 gallon horse food bowl inside. It's been a great addition, and it's not too expensive. It's not too big or clunky or frustrating to fill up. It has a nice opening so a couple pups can drink out of it at a time. With so many pups it can get dirty quickly so we often only fill it a gallon or so at a time.
We have used this fairly aesthetically pleasing 2.5 -gallon mason jar styled gravity water dish
for a few years now and we are happy with it.
This water jug is stationed out in the big play area. Lots of running means lots of water. Filling it, especially all the way full can be frustrating because you can't top fill it. You have to fill it from the bottom and then flip it over. However, we recently cut a hole at the top where the mason jar lid is and it's been perfect after that. Not exactly sure why they didn't think of that? All in all, it's durable, it works well, and it looks nice.
This is a really useful waterer. It's a bit smaller, a little less nice looking than the one above, but also quicker and easier to fill. You have to fill it from the bottom, but it's not too bad. If you have just one dog this would probably be just perfect.
3. Flavored water:
Another creative way to keep your dog hydrated is by adding a small amount of low sodium chicken or beef broth to your dog's water bowl. This can make it more appealing to your dog, which will keep him hydrated. Adding low salt flavorers to your dogs water can help rehydrate them and keep them hydrated due to the fact that salt has an affinity for water which means at the appropriate saturation level salt helps retain water in the body.
We've used Brutus's Bone Broth in the past. It's good quality and healthy. It works if you need something in a pinch, but we generally like to home-make our bone broth for the pups.
4. Ice cubes:
Dogs often enjoy chewing on ice cubes, especially during hot weather. Consider placing some ice cubes in their water bowl or waterers to encourage them to drink more. Be careful doing this with young puppies or too frequently if they are chewing on the ice cubes because ice cubes can cause tooth damage.
5. Wet food and treats:
By incorporating wet foods with high water content into your dog's diet, can increase their overall hydration levels. Once again, you can add bone broth to your dogs meal to aid with hydration. A lot of dogs like a splash of water in their dry-food as it opens up the flavor and smell of the food.
Proper hydration is crucial when ensuring the health and safety of your pet. By recognizing the signs of dehydration and implementing practical strategies, you can help keep your dog happy, active, and healthy!
Thanks for reading!