October 23, 2023
Are you concerned about your dog’s water intake? Worried they are drinking too much or not enough? If you’re reading this article and feel as though this may be an emergency, we suggest you contact your vet right away. However, if you’re looking for some peace of mind, and looking for some general advice, then we’ve got some great guidelines for you.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CHECKED YOUR DOG’S WATER INTAKE?
Ensuring your dog is drinking the right amount of water is important for their overall health, and can prevent future illnesses. If your dog is not drinking enough water, they may be diagnosed with Polyuria. Drinking too little water can lead to dehydration.
If your dog is dehydrated for an extended period, it can cause significant complications, such as kidney stones, organ failure and in severe cases, death. If your dog is drinking too much water, they may have a case of Polydipsia. Polydipsia can cause stomach bloating, electrolyte imbalances, and water toxicity (Hyponatremia). It is important to remember however, there may be other underlying illnesses as to why your dog may not be consuming the right amount of water and should be followed up with your vet promptly.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF WATER?
There are many considerations to take into account when monitoring your dog’s water intake such as their age, weight, activity, and the type of food which can affect their water intake. If you are unsure of how much your dog should drink, these guidelines may help:
Size: A healthy dog should be drinking around 30-50ml of water per kilo of body weight per day.
Food: Does your dog eat a diet made of only dry food? Or maybe a mixture of both wet and dry? Dogs that eat just dry food will need a little more water than those which eat wet, due to the higher water content. Ensuring your dog has a diet which includes natural ingredients and provides all their nutrition is essential to keeping your dog hydrated and healthy.
Age: If you have a puppy, they need about half a cup every two hours and should be monitored closely. Older dogs will tend to naturally control their own water intake. However, use the guide by their size to ensure they are drinking enough.
Exercise: All dogs should be exercised daily. When exercising your dog, it is important to bring water along to keep your dog from becoming dehydrated. The bottles which have the drop down cup work really well when travelling. A great tip to reduce bloating after your dog has exercised is to give them ice cubes to begin with and then just a little water at a time. This is also a great way to cool them down during those hot Australian summer months. During summer, your dog may also need to increase their overall water intake as they may begin to pant more to reduce their body temperature.
Medications: If your dog is on medication, it would be best to discuss with your vet whether you need to increase or decrease your dog’s water intake.
HOW SHOULD I CHECK FOR DEHYDRATION?
To check if your dog is hydrated enough, gently pull back the skin of your dog’s neck and let it go. If your dog’s skin snaps back into place quickly, then they are hydrated. However, if your dog’s skin returns slowly and forms a “tent” (skin fold), then they are dehydrated. Another place to check if your dog is hydrated is their gums. Wet, slippery gums are healthy, whereas dull, dry and or sticky gums means dehydration.
Dogs that drink too much water and which are over-hydrated will often vomit, show signs of confusion and lethargy.
There are some strategic methods you can start implementing at home for your dog to change the behaviour of their drinking habits which can help improve his or her overall water intake!
Behaviour Management: Praise your dog with treats whenever they go to get a drink.
Strategic Positions: Keep multiple water bowls around the home. Place them near their bed, near their food, and anywhere you would find them around the house.
Add Flavour: Did you know you there are flavour sachets which you can add to your dog’s water with flavours such as chicken, bacon and beef to make it more tempting to drink? You can also use homemade chicken or beef broth if your dog is refusing to drink water.
Invest in a high-tech water bowl:“No Gulp” water bowls can limit the amount of how much water your dog takes in each lick. This can help them from drinking too quickly which can lead to bloating.
Ration it out: If someone is usually at home during the day, try to ration it during the day by only filling up the bowl by 1/4. This does mean that you will have to fill it up several times throughout the day; however, you can closely monitor the amount they intake.
KEEP YOUR DOG’S WATER CLEAN AND FRESH!
No one likes stale water, and neither would your dog. To help keep your dog healthy, always ensure your dog’s water bowl is clean and that the water is refreshed daily. Making sure your dog has a healthy diet, and the right amount of fresh water can prevent illness and improve their overall health.
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