Hydration 101: How To Keep Your Dog Properly Hydrated
Author: Keren Dinkin
As dog parents, we love to dote on our pets with the best food, toys, and accessories we can afford. It's our job to also ensure that we give them as much water as they need. Hydration is a very important aspect of pet care since more than 70% of our pets’ bodies are made of water.
Regardless of the weather or season, our pets need water for healthy functioning. It can also keep heat-related illnesses and ailments at bay.
Wondering how much water dogs need, and if you should give your dog tap or filtered water? In this blog, we’ll address these questions and more so you can ensure that your pet stays hydrated.
Importance of Hydration
Here’s why water is essential for dogs to function normally:
- Flushes out toxins and waste
- Regulates body temperature and lubricates joints
- Maintains skin elasticity
- Aids healthy digestion and metabolism
- Transports oxygen and essential nutrients to the cells and organs
How Much Water Do Dogs Need?
Water requirements for pets depend on the following factors.
Here's the general rule of thumb: each day, your dog should drink at least 1 ounce of water for every pound they weigh. This means that a 15-pound dog roughly needs 15 ounces of water every day.
Dogs who eat moisture-rich food may need less water than dogs that only eat dry food.
Puppies need water in small doses every few hours.
Active dogs who exercise more need more frequent water breaks.
The higher the temperature, the more important water becomes.
How to Spot Signs of Dehydration
Here’s how you can tell if your dog might be dehydrated:
- Lethargy, reduced energy levels, and loss of appetite
- Dry, sunken eyes
- Vomiting with or without diarrhea
- Panting, dry nose, dry mouth, and sticky, pale gums
- Thick saliva
An easy test to check on your dog’s hydration level is to check their skin elasticity. Gently pinch the skin at the back of your dog’s neck. If it takes longer than two seconds for their skin to return to its original position, dehydration is a possibility.
It’s important to also keep in mind that there is another side of the coin here. If your dog is suddenly drinking an excessive amount of water, a trip to the vet is needed. Excessive water intake can be a sign of kidney failure, diabetes, Cushing’s syndrome, or dehydration.
Tips To Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Here are four ways to keep your dog hydrated:
- Make sure your dog always has easy access to fresh water. When you leave your house for long periods, fill up your pet’s water dish with clean water and regularly clean the dish to avoid the accumulation of dirt and bacteria.
- Understand your dog’s basic drinking needs so that you’re prepared to recognize signs of dehydration.
- When spending time outdoors, make sure your dog has a shady spot to relax in after it’s done running around, and avoid being outside for too long during extreme heat.
- Adding water to your dog’s kibble helps ensure that it receives optimum water every day.
Benefits of Hydrated Kibble
Did you know that there are several advantages to rehydrating dried kibble with water? Here are its benefits:
1. Increases Your Dog’s Hydration Level
When consumed dry, a dog's digestive system must pull water from the dog's body in order to properly digest the kibble. By adding water to it, you're not only helping your dog's systems maintain a proper level of hydration, but it also can help increase your dog’s overall water intake.
2. Can Help Your Dog Lose Weight
Adding water to your dog’s kibble increases its volume without bumping up the calories. It can make your dog feel full faster and prompt it to stop eating sooner.
3. Improves Your Dog’s Urinary Health
Fluids help flush out toxins from the body through urine. Increased moisture content in your dog’s food can reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
4. Can Make Food More Appealing
Wet kibble, especially when it’s warm, is more flavorful than dry kibble and is full of meaty aroma. This can make the food more appealing. This is ideal for sick dogs since it can increase their appetite.
5. Good for Weaning Puppies
Puppies have tiny tummies and underdeveloped teeth. This can make it hard for them to chew and digest dry kibble. Soaked kibble can make it easier for weaning puppies to transition from milk to solid food.
6. Good for Dogs With Dental Problems
For dogs with dental issues, softened kibble is easier to chew and swallow. This can prevent their fragile gums from being damaged.
7. Reduces Bloating
Dogs tend to chew and gulp down large portions of dry kibble quickly which can cause digestive issues like bloating and vomiting. In contrast, moist and softened food is easier to digest and absorb.
8. Makes it Easier to Switch Foods
Soaking newly introduced dry food with water can help disguise its taste and also help your dog’s digestive system to gently accept the change in nutrients. It’s also a great way to mask the flavor of supplements or medicines.
Should Your Dog Have Tap Water or Filtered Water?
It’s safe for your dog to have tap water if you live in a country or area where it is safe to drink tap water. However, if the tap in your area has a history of causing illnesses, it’s best to buy filtered water for your dog or invest in a water filter for your home.
Here are the benefits of giving filtered water to your pet:
- It reduces the chances of your dog getting tear stains
- Your dog may drink more of it since filtered water generally tastes better than unfiltered water.
- Filtered water is free from toxins which helps maintain your dog's health.
Ensuring that your dog has easy access to fresh, clean water and adding water to your dog’s kibble are excellent ways to ensure proper hydration.
If your dog is a picky eater, you can use dog treats from Natural Farm and mix them with kibble to make the food more appealing. Our treats are not just tasty and healthy but are made from sustainably sourced top-quality ingredients.