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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

Dehydration in Pets: Is Your Furry Friend Drinking Enough Water?

pet dehydrationYou know that feeling… Parched throat, dry skin, and incredible thirst that hits you during warm, dry days (or even dry winter days!). Although we know we’re supposed to drink at least 64 ounces of water each day, most of us don’t consume that much in lieu of tasty coffee beverages and fizzy drinks.

Likewise, our pets can succumb to dehydration when they’re not getting their daily intake of water. Whether it’s because Mittens is extremely fussy (only distilled water for her, thank you!) or your super active dog isn’t drinking enough to combat the heat and moisture loss, dehydration in pets is common.

If you think your pet isn’t drinking enough water, keep reading to learn more about how you can encourage healthy hydration.

Dehydration in Pets

It’s no stretch to say that water is life. It’s responsible for regulating body temperature, carrying nutrients to vital organs, dispelling toxins, and other important functions that keep all of us alive. Yet, when this delicate balance is disrupted, problems can quickly arise.

There are numerous reasons a pet might become dehydrated. Dehydration is a problem when temperatures rise and our fur friends lose more water through mechanisms like panting (and, to some extent, sweating). Active dogs can easily become dehydrated when spending time in the sun with their owners – especially if there’s a lack of shade and adequate drinking water.

Certain illnesses can predispose a pet to increased urination and water consumption, as well as chronic dehydration (e.g., kidney disease, cancer, diabetes). Older pets often do not drink enough, and young puppies and kittens may need encouragement to drink more as they develop. Toy breeds are also susceptible due to their small size.

If your pet has been sick with diarrhea or vomiting, he or she can also quickly become dehydrated. Please notify your veterinarian if your pet continues to vomit or have diarrhea for more than 12 hours.

Symptoms of Dehydration

Depending on its severity, dehydration may call for IV fluids and monitoring, so be sure to pay attention to any of these signs:

  • Less interest in exercise, lethargy
  • Appetite loss
  • Consuming more water (including attempts to drink out of puddles, etc.)
  • Increased panting (dogs)
  • Dry membranes – nose, mouth/tongue/gums
  • Sunken eyes
  • Decreased skin elasticity

Is Your Pet Drinking Enough Water?

Typically, dogs need an ounce of water per pound of body weight just as maintenance; with heat, exercise, and disease, as mentioned above, their need increases. The water needs of cats range from 5 to 10 ounces, with those who are on a dry diet requiring more.

To increase your pet’s water intake, first observe how much your pet is taking in by measuring your water bowls each day (or by purchasing pre measured bowls). Other ways to up your pet’s water intake include:

  • Bring plenty of fresh water on walks, car trips, etc.
  • Keep several bowls of clean water around the home; wash bowls at least once a week.
  • Use a pet water fountain (cats prefer moving water).
  • Add ice cubes, low sodium broth, or tuna juice for flavor and interest.

Dehydration in pets is a common and potentially serious problem for our furry friends. To keep your pet hydrated, make sure clean, cool water is readily available at home or anywhere you go. For more information, please contact our team.