I went over to my elderly neighbor’s house the other day and found that his dog was without water. This is especially concerning during this hot time of the year. Can you give me some guidelines on how much water a dog needs and ways to keep them hydrated, so that I may help my neighbor keep his dog healthy?
Thirsty in Timbergrove
Your neighbor, and his dog, are very fortunate to have such a caring neighbor to help. Hydration is very important for all animals–especially when the temperatures are as high as they are this time of the year. Keeping a dog hydrated is just as important as keeping him well-fed. In fact, dehydration can lead to kidney stones and even organ failure.
How much water do dogs need?
You might be wondering how much water a dog needs to stay healthy and hydrated. While some dogs will gladly drink more than their fair share of water, some are picky about water and don’t always get enough to drink. A good guideline, as far as how much water a dog should be ingesting a day, is one-half to 1 ounce of water per body weight per day. So, if you have a 20-pound dog, that would translate to between 10 and 20 ounces of water per day.
However, hydration needs are also dependent on how active the dog is, how much time the dog is spending outside, and what sort of food the dog is eating. A diet that consists of only dry kibble could use a boost in hydration.
How to spot dehydration
If you are ever concerned that your neighbor’s dog is dehydrated, there are a few tell-tale signs to watch for. If you can pick up the scruff of his neck and it doesn’t immediately fall back into place, but instead “tents” and stays lifted for a bit, this is a classic sign of dehydration. Also, look in his mouth at his gums. If he’s dehydrated, they’ll appear dry. If he’s properly hydrated, the gums will be slick. If you suspect dehydration, offer small amounts of water to the dog and consider a trip to the vet.
Help for a dog who doesn’t drink enough
If your dog isn’t interested in drinking water, try supplementing his food with low-sodium chicken broth. Ice cubes used as treats and in the water can make his water bowl more enticing and fresher. Pet water fountains are also beneficial in enticing a pet to drink as well as to freshen the water bowl.
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