By Toni Gibson-Mark, KPA-CTP
We’re in the middle of the summer and there is no better time to be concerned with our pet’s hydration than now. It’s hot and humid in many places around the country and our pups are wishing that they could shed layers as easily as we can take off our winter clothes. Not to mention many of them are spending more and more time at the water bowl!
It goes without saying that water intake is extremely important for our pets. Just like us, their bodies consist mostly of water and when they aren’t drinking water, they get dehydrated. Dehydration in our pets can be very dangerous.
Although it’s important for people to drink water, we get a lot of water from the food we consume. This is not necessarily the case for our pets. Kibble and other dry foods have very little moisture levels. If your pet doesn’t drink a lot from the water bowl, consider adding a wet food or a food that gets re-hydrated by adding water to his diet. You can also just add water to the kibble too—sometimes that makes the food even more appealing to the pet!
Our pets need a constant supply of fresh water. That means even when “on-the-go”! If you’re taking a long road trip, pull over a few times and offer water to your pet. You should definitely bring water for your pet if you’re engaging in any outdoor activities (i.e. hiking) together. Our pets need water during indoor activities too—if you’re taking training classes or visiting a friend, make sure your pet has access to a fresh bowl of water.
Some pets are finicky about their water. For example, my dog won’t drink water if there is anything in it—even a little piece of grass! This means she needs a refreshed bowl of water several times a day. Some pets only prefer moving water (i.e. the cats that drink from the faucet). Consider purchasing a fountain that will keep the water moving. Our Drinkwell® line contains many different types of fountains in all sorts of colors and styles!
Although it might seem silly to cater to your pet’s water-drinking preferences, it’s important to do it. After all, we prefer certain types of drinks over others—it’s only fair that our pets can have preferences too!
One tip that is not discussed enough is washing your pet’s water bowls daily. Just like any pool of moisture, bacteria can grow. Leaving your dog’s bowl unwashed for several days or weeks can contribute to bacteria growth, which can make your pet more finicky about their water and/or could make them sick! Make it a habit to wash their water bowl every time you feed them their breakfast and/or dinner. You’re already touching the bowls anyway!
You shouldn’t ever remove your pet’s access to water. Many people think that you should only provide little bits of water to your puppy at a time while you’re house-training. However, to the contrary, very active puppies need lots of water to stay healthy and to grow! Instead of restricting access, make sure you are very quick to take your puppy out after drinking the water and reward the puppy for going potty outside.
Hydration is so important for our pets and it’s often a health concern that is not addressed enough. Try to spend a few days monitoring your pet’s water intake, and if you feel he’s not getting enough water, add some to his food or provide a wet food as well. He’ll be sure to thank you with a wet slobbery kiss!