Most of us have heard that the average adult should drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. It’s also understood that the warmer the weather, the thirstier we become since we lose water through perspiration. But what about our pets?
Dehydration in pets can be a real problem, especially when it’s hot outside. Learn more about the signs of dehydration and ways to encourage water consumption, so you never need to ask yourself, “Is my pet drinking enough water?”
Dehydration in Pets
Dehydration in pets can occur for a number of different reasons. Although pets don’t sweat as effectively or in the same way as humans, moisture loss is the basis of dehydration. Many animals sweat through their paw pads (dogs and cats) as well as by panting, which releases moisture from the lungs in order to cool down the body.
Animals will also seek respite during the heat of the day to avoid losing moisture. For very active animals, replenishing water loss from exercise and play is crucial, yet sometimes, it’s easy to forget to bring water along on those journeys to the park.
Pets who have certain diseases or conditions, such as kidney disease and diabetes, need to consume more water than usual since increased thirst and frequent urination are symptoms of these illnesses. Small breeds, senior pets, and puppies/kittens are all susceptible to faster dehydration – and are more vulnerable to heat and illness.
Pocket pets like chinchillas and guinea pigs are naturally adapted to cooler regions. Therefore, they don’t tolerate heat well (and need to have plenty of shade and water).
Signs of dehydration in pets include:
- Sunken eyes
- Increased panting
- Decreased skin elasticity
- Dry mouth and nose
- Appetite loss
If your pet has recently had diarrhea and/or vomiting, he or she will need extra care in staying hydrated – and should be seen by a veterinarian if symptoms last more than 12 hours.
Is Your Pet Drinking Enough Water?
While it may seem like a pet will naturally drink the right amount of water each day, this is not always the case. Cats are often chronically dehydrated because they’re more particular about the quality of their water (ever notice their fascination with the kitchen faucet?). They also often do not acquire enough moisture through their diet.
As a rule, cats need 5-10 ounces of water per day (more for those on a dry diet); dogs require one ounce per pound of body weight. By measuring out your pet’s daily water supply, you can get a better gauge on whether he or she is getting enough. Of course, needs will change depending on health and activity level.
Because exotic pets vary greatly with their daily water needs, the team at Godspeed Animal Care can help you determine the correct amount during your pet’s wellness exam.
Some simple tricks to encourage your pet to consume more water include:
- Adding tuna juice to your cat’s water bowl
- Throwing ice cubes into a bowl to keep water cooler
- Using a drinking fountain rather than a bowl
- Offering your pet frozen pet treats, such as homemade pet popsicles
- Carrying water with you everywhere (even in the car)
Staying hydrated is important to the proper function of the body and is essential in good pet care. Please contact us with additional questions about pet dehydration.
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