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Home / Articles / Pets / Ask the Pet Expert /  Is your dog drinking enough water?
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Thursday, June 5,2014

Is your dog drinking enough water?

By Pet Expert  

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the Summer. That means South Florida heat is upon us and our furry friends. Have you ever wondered how much water your dog needs each day? Do you assume he’ll drink precisely the amount he needs if you give him free access to fresh clean water at all times? While some dogs instinctively know to drink just the right amount of water, other dogs don’t drink enough water or just as dangerous some pets drink" too much water. Keeping an eye on your pet’s water consumption is important because too little can result in dehydration, urinary tract issues like kidney stones, and organ failure. And drinking too much water can actually be toxic. The amount of water your dog drinks can be an indicator of an underlying illness. Dogs with pancreatitis, parvovirus, or leptospirosis tend not to drink much water, but a brewing bladder infection, other types of infection, or a metabolic problem such as Cushing´s disease, and diabetes can cause excessive thirst and water consumption. So if your pet is drinking less or more water than normal, you should have her checked by your veterinarian to rule out an underlying condition.

General Guidelines for Water Consumption

• A good general guideline is that a healthy dog should drink between 1/2 and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. So a healthy 65-pound Labrador Retriever should be drinking between about 33 and 65 ounces, or about 1/4 to 1/2 gallon of water daily.

• If your dog is eating a moisturerich, species-appropriate diet, they are getting some of their water needs met with each meal, so they may not drink as much from their water bowl.

• Puppies need to drink small amounts of water every couple of hours and should be closely monitored and encouraged to drink.

• After a period of hard play or exercise, use caution when your dog rehydrates. If he immediately laps up the contents of his water bowl, rest him for a bit before you refill his bowl. If your dog is very active, it’s a good idea to have water with you when he exercises so that you can give him frequent short water breaks to keep him hydrated.

• Florida can be warm all year, it is especially important during summer to monitor your dog’s water intake to insure they are adequately hydrated.

How to Tell If Your Dog is Dehydrated

• Lift some skin at the back of your pet´s neck and let it go. If your dog is well hydrated, the skin will fall quickly back into place. The skin of a dehydrated dog will fall more slowly and form sort of a tent.

• Another method is to check your dog’s gums. Moist, slick gums indicate a good level of hydration; dry or sticky gums mean your pet’s body needs more water.

• If your dog doesn’t drink enough water, make sure to praise her and give her a treat whenever she drinks from her water bowl, and place fresh water close to all the places she frequents, like her bed and food bowl.

• Add yummy flavorings like chicken or beef broth to your dog’s water to make it more tempting, and consider getting a pet drinking water fountain as a further enticement.

How to Tell if Your Dog is Over Hydrated

• The medical term for the desire to drink too much water is called psychogenic polydipsia.

• Symptoms of over-hydration (water intoxication) include s t a g g e r i n g / l o s s o f coordination, lethargy, nausea, bloating, vomiting, dilated pupils, glazed eyes, light gum color, and excessive salivation. In severe cases, there can also be difficulty breathing, collapse, loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and death.

• The bodily condition that occurs when dogs overconsume water is called hyponatremia (or inadequate levels of sodium in the bloodstream).

• It is most commonly seen in dogs who like to stay in the lake, pond or pool all day; pets that lap or bite at the water continuously while playing in it; and dogs that swallow water unintentionally as they dive for a ball or other toy.

• If he’s retrieving a ball or other toy from the water, insist on frequent rest breaks and be especially vigilant on days when the water is rough. Also observe if your dog’s mouth is open a lot – even if he’s holding a ball or stick in it -- understand that he’s probably ingesting a fair amount of water. The same can be true of dogs that dive to the bottom of a pool to retrieve items.

Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of water intoxication and monitor your dog’s appearance and behavior when he’s playing in water. And if your dog enjoys being sprayed with water from the hose or sprinkler, you should monitor that activity as well. Water from a hose or sprinkler is under pressure, and you’d be surprised how much your dog can ingest in a short amount of time. For more information on proper hydration come to the Paw Depot and speak to our pet experts. Pet Diet & Nutritional advice is always FREE and we also offer FREE Kagen Alkaline water for you and your pet´s. Drinking high PH water will help improve both you and your pets overall health. Next time you visit the Paw Depot remember to bring an empty water jug to try out healthy and tasteful Kagen alkaline water and start optimizing your pet´s health.


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