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Water is an essential ingredient for healthy pets–and humans; in today’s veterinary blog, how proper hydration can keep your pooch healthy, how much water is enough, and a few ideas to encourage your pets to drink up.

With the heat of the summer in full swing, one proactive veterinary tip that we repeat often is to ensure your pets have access to clean, cool water to help avoid heat-related injuries or ailments.

How do you know if your dog is drinking enough and well hydrated?

Water requirements for pets depend on several factors:

  • Size. Healthy dogs drink between ½ and 1 oz of water/per pound daily. For example, a 65-lb dog would need 33–65 ounces (¼ to ½ of a gallon).
  • Diet. Dogs that eat a moisture-rich diet may meet some of their water intake needs through food, and therefore, drink a little less. Conversely, dogs that eat primarily dry food may require slightly more water.
  • Age. Puppies require small amounts of water every few hours and close monitoring to encourage drinking it. Seniors dogs may need a little more, as well.
  • Activity level. Active dogs will need more water. If you’re out and about enjoying the Treasure Valley foothills with your pet, bring along a bowl and water and offer frequent short water breaks.
  • Weather conditions. On hot days dogs use water to stay cool. Offer plenty, in a few different areas around the home and yard.

How hydration keeps your dog healthy.

Similar to people, water offers multiple health benefits by:

  • Facilitating digestion and metabolic processes.
  • Transporting oxygen through a healthy blood flow.
  • Flushing out toxins from vital organs
  • Regulating body temperature (dogs pant to cool down, this process dispels water through their tongue)

Be aware, that upon occasion, certain illness could incite excessive thirst in your dog. Cushing’s disease, cancer, liver/kidney ailments are a few underlying health issues that affect a dog’s water intake. If you notice a significant change in your dog’s water consumption, a thorough exam by your family veterinarian can identify areas of concern.

If you have a “picky drinker” try adding a little broth to his/her water to make it tasty and appealing—just be sure to use a low sodium broth.
Get creative! Offer the garden hose, a water bottle, or ice cubes to encourage your friend to drink up and stay hydrated.

Keep your canine companion (and yourself!) well-hydrated during these end of summer days.

If you have concerns about your pet’s water intake, dehydration, or a sudden change in appetite/thirst it is always appropriate to see your family veterinarian; if your veterinarian is unavailable WestVet provides 24-hour emergency veterinary care to pets in the Treasure Valley.

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