National Hydration Month: Tips to Keep Your Pet Healthy!
It’s Summertime! That means sunny skies, trips to the beach, and more time outdoors. With all of the fun summer brings, it’s important to make sure not only you, but your pets are staying hydrated!
July is National Pet Hydration Month for good reason. Read more and you’ll find everything you need to know about hydration, as well as some tricks to help your furry friends stay eager at the water bowl!
Why is Hydration So Important?
Just like for us humans, hydration is crucial for your pet’s health. Being properly hydrated ensures that their body is functioning and thriving. Dogs and cats that don’t drink enough water are at risk of developing diarrhea, lethargy, or even heatstroke. If your pet remains chronically dehydrated, there can be even worse implications. This includes kidney disease, diabetes, and urinary infections.
Hydration allows your body to perform necessary functions, like optimizing organ function and regulating body temperature. If you want your pet to be healthy, getting plenty of water is a must!
How Much Water Does My Dog or Cat Need?
It is recommended that dogs drink one ounce of water daily, per pound of their body weight.
water per 5 pounds of body weight, per Cornell University.
So, if your Tabby weighs 15 pounds, she should be getting about 12 ounces of water daily. On the other hand, if you have a Labrador Retriever who weighs 60 pounds, he can drink up to 60 ounces of water per day.
Keep in mind the amount of water your dog or cat needs, and be sure to supervise to see if they're drinking enough water throughout the day.
How to Tell if My Dog or Cat is Dehydrated?
Unfortunately, your dog or cat won’t bring their water bowl to you and ask for more. That’s why it’s crucial to monitor their water intake. While dogs generally drink water without issue, cats tend to be a bit more finicky. In fact, most cats don’t feel the symptoms of dehydration until the problem becomes more serious. Because your pet won’t always express that they're dehydrated, be sure to check for the following physical signs.
Gently pull up on the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades and see how long it takes to return to normal. In a well-hydrated dog or cat, the skin should return to normal quickly.
Pull back your pet’s cheeks and give them a gentle touch. They should feel wet. If they feel sticky, your pet is probably dehydrated.
Check to see if your pet has dull, unfocused, or sunken eyes.
Feel your pet’s coat and skin. Is it dry or flaky? If so, they may be dehydrated.
How Can I Keep My Pet Hydrated and Healthy?
Let’s face it: no one has the ability to watch their pet all day, every day. We won’t always be able to make sure our pet is drinking all the water they need - but we can take the steps to make it as easy as possible for them!
1. Be mindful of temperature and activity level
It’s always important to make sure your dog or cat is getting enough exercise. If your pup loves running with his friends at the dog park, that’s great! But it’s crucial to give him plenty of water before, during, and after playtime. Pets, especially dogs, that get a lot of exercise need extra hydration throughout the day. The hotter it is outside, the more they need.
In addition to providing water, make sure to limit the amount of time spent outdoors in high temperatures. Excessive exposure to heat can put your pet at risk of overheating.
2. Always provide a source of water
Your dog or cat can’t drink water if their bowl’s empty! Make sure your pets always have access to water. If you have the option, you can always buy your pet a water fountain dispenser. It’s less of a hassle to monitor if their bowl is full, and actually can encourage them to drink up!
Cats in particular respond better to running water: this is because of their biological predisposition. Cats in the wild looked for running water rather than still, to ensure what they were drinking was fresh and uncontaminated by bacteria.
With a water fountain for cats, you’ll be keeping your furry friend hydrated in no time!
3. Give Your Pets Moisture-rich food
You may ask yourself: Does wet food hydrate cats or dogs? The answer is yes!
You might not know this, but water is not the only way to keep your pet hydrated. Dogs and cats can both get hydration from moisture-rich foods. It’s always best to provide your pets with wet food, rather than dry food. Due to the production process of kibble, all hydration is eliminated from the product and it can actually be dehydrating for your pets. You can read more about the benefits of wet food, here.
Here at KOHA Pet, we offer many moisture-rich food options!
For cats, our Minimal Ingredient Stews, Poké Bowls, and Pure Shreds are both designed to help fight against dehydration. Like all of our recipes, they are minimal ingredient and safe for cats with digestive concerns.
For dogs, try our Pure Shreds! They’re delicious, low fat, and cooked in a savory broth to help keep your pup hydrated. We also have Minimal Ingredients Stews and Slow Cooked Stews, that have juicy cuts of meats in a tasty gravy in a variety of flavors.
Keeping your dog or cat hydrated and healthy doesn’t have to be a struggle! Just make sure you’re providing your pet with the right amount of water, and the right food!
If you’re concerned that your dog or cat is dehydrated, please schedule a visit with a trusted veterinarian. This text cannot and should not replace advice from a licensed veterinarian. This blog is for educational purposes only.
Cornell Feline Health Center. (2021, July 8). Hydration. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/hydration#:~:text=Cats%20need%20to%20consume%20about,cup%20of%20water%20per%20day.
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