Thu, May 20, 2021 1:25 AM
Water is a vital part of our lives. Without water, living things are considered gone as well, from single-celled organisms that need water to thrive on to complex lifeforms, including dogs.
Dogs, like humans, are made up of nearly 80% water, and as we are already aware, the absence of water in a dog’s routine can be life-threatening. Every cell in a dog’s body depends on water hydration for proper functions, similar to human cells. Without enough water, a dog may suffer from dehydration that may result in the breaking down of organ functions, and consequently, death.
Drinking enough water daily will keep your dog energetic and healthy and today, we will be tackling down what you need to know when it comes to a dog’s drinking water pattern and how to keep your furbaby hydrated.
Why Is Being Hydrated Important For Dogs?
Okay, we get it. Water is a life-preserver, but what are the other reasons why drinking water is an essential part of a dog’s life? Here are the reasons why it is best to keep your dogs hydrated.
To Function The Body Systems
Water facilitated all of the metabolic processes that happen in a dog’s body systems, such as the digestive, muscular, skeletal, circulatory, and more. Water helps your dog to digest food, can give your dog the ability to think for himself, breathe in the fresh air, and circulate the blood through the veins.
Speaking of blood circulation, blood is mostly composed of water, and without enough water, the blood quality decreases which makes it more challenging for dogs to supply the muscles and the brain with oxygenated blood.
To Flush Toxins and Wastes
As water flows throughout the body, it also carries oxygen to the cells while clearing harmful toxins from their system. Without a sufficient amount of water, this exchange will not occur and these toxins can build up that will consequently result in harmful damages to the vital organs, including the kidneys and the heart.
To Regulate Body Temperature
One of the most well-known misconceptions about dogs is that they do not have sweat glands. Well, dogs do have sweat glands, however, they do not use these to perspire as humans do, because they have thick insulating coats that cover these sweat glands. Additionally, the sweat glands play a minor role to regulate body temperature.
Enter the panting mechanism and water intake as body temperature regulators. In order to cool themselves during a hot, summer day, dogs can drink water and pant to keep themselves comfortable. When dogs pant, they are exhaling and releasing water through their respiration, so it is important to restore the water lost by drinking it.
To Lubricate the Joints
Aside from aiding the circulation of the body, water is also beneficial in lubricating and cushioning the bones and joints. This will make it easier and less painful for dogs to move around.
Once the dog reaches the elderly stage, it is essential to keep them hydrated to maintain good bone and joint health.
To Promote Better Nutrient Absorption
Another bodily function that benefits from sufficient water intake is digestion. Water helps in breaking down the food your dog ingests, plus it aids in the absorption of those digested nutrients into the body. Water will also help the organs to secrete the enzymes and acids that are necessary to fully complete the digestive process.
How Much Water Should Be Enough?
As busy pet parents, sometimes we cannot always monitor our dog’s water intake. In this situation, the most basic solution can be done, such as leaving them with their filled water bowls, with the thought that the dogs will drink as much as they needed.
However, keep in mind that a dog’s will to drink water on its own can vary depending on different situations. Certain dogs are more prone to under-drink or over-drink, yes you read that right. Drinking too much water can result in stomach bloat, electrolyte imbalance, and hyponatremia or water toxicity.
A dog’s insufficient or overwhelming drinking pattern can also be a symptom of an underlying illness. Under-drinking could be a symptom of parvo, leptospirosis, or pancreatitis, while overdrinking can indicate a bladder infection or diabetes. Either way, if this drinking pattern continues, it is crucial to have your vet check your dog.
The Optimal Drinking Guidelines for Dogs
When it comes to the amount of water needed daily, every dog will differ and there are a lot of factors that will dictate the standard amount of water intake per day. Here are the following things you have to consider in order to know how much water your dog should drink daily.
On average, a healthy dog drinks about 1 ounce of freshwater per pound of body weight per day. So if your dog is 26 pounds, he needs to drink 26 oz of water daily.
A balanced, nutritious diet is as essential as water and as most pet parents know, there are two types of dog food available for convenience: dry food and wet food.
Dogs that are exclusively eating dry food will need more water than those who eat canned wet food. Apart from that, it is recommended to ingredients that may increase your dog’s thirst, such as sodium.
As puppies age, their bladders will grow larger too. However, keep in mind that puppies are more prone to peeing frequently, thus proper water intake is important.
Generally, young puppies need about one-half cup of water every two hours due to their frequent urination and more active lifestyle. Older puppies that have already been weaned will need between one-half to one ounce of water per pound of body weight daily.
When bringing your dog out for a walk, they will become more active that will result in increased panting and greater water loss.
It is best to bring separate filled-up water bottles for you and your dog. There are dog water bottle containers available in the market with a water bowl attachment that is easily accessible during walks, such as the Pet Water Dispenser Feeder.
This bottle has a one-piece molded design that makes it simple to release drinking water. It includes a food-grade silicone foldable water bowl that can hold five ounces of water and a double leak-proof ring. Just turn over the leaf-shaped bowl and open the cap to let the water flow. It also has an anti-backflow feature to prevent dirty water from going back into the bottle.
Hot summer weather plays a huge impact on all living things’ water intake. Hot weather is uncomfortable for dogs but they are ways to cool off, such as drinking plenty of water. For additional cooling sensation, add a few ice cubes in your dog’s water bowl!
For more tips on how to walk your dog during a hot day, check out our previous article.
Tips To Get Your Dog To Frequently Drink Water
There are times where dogs can be finicky when it comes to drinking their water. Here are five tips you can do to hydrate a dog that won’t drink water.
Place the water bowl in multiple locations
Avoid keeping your dog’s water bowls in just one place as it may discourage them from drinking. Instead, put water bowls throughout the house, such as near your dog’s bread, in your kitchen, and in the yard. Since dogs love to wander, they will always take notice of these bowls, making them more enticed to drink from them.
Keep the bowl clean
Dogs are most likely to refuse to drink from a dirty bowl, so it is better to change the water at least once or twice a day and check it to see that nothing has accidentally fallen into the bowl throughout the day.
It is advisable to clean the water bowl using soap and water every other day to remove any leftover smell from stagnant water. Make sure that all soap residues have been rinsed off to avoid poisoning. Sterilize the bowl weekly by submerging it in hot water that will eliminate any bacteria and lingering odor.
Make the water more “flavorful”
Adding a little flavor to your dog’s boring, tasteless water can make them drink more. Add a spoonful or two of broth into your dog’s water for a more flavorful drinking experience.
Add some ice cubes
This technique is most helpful during hot days. Dogs prefer to drink cold water, plus, the ice cubes give them something to play with. Gradually add just one ice cube to each water bowl. This way, your dog will not get shocked by the change in temperature. Once your dog is used to it, add a couple more ice cubes.
You can even combine flavored water with cold water by freezing broth in an ice cube tray and add it to your dog’s water bowl.
Switch to wet/canned food
Although wet food is more expensive, it contains more moisture than dry dog food, making it perfect for finicky dogs. Before any dietary changes, ask your veterinarian for advice.
Do not consider adding water to your dog’s dry food as this will only make it much less appealing, soggy, and can cause the food to spoil, increasing the chances of a stomach ache.
What Are the Symptoms of Dehydration In Dogs?
Dehydration in dogs can be life-threatening so it is essential to know the signs to look out for. Here are the symptoms of dogs suffering from dehydration:
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting with or without diarrhea
- Reduced energy levels and lethargy
- Sunken, dry-looking eyes
- Dry nose
- Dry, sticky gums
- Thick saliva
With this knowledge, you will be able to quickly send your dog to the vet and give them first aid treatment.
What Are the Symptoms of Overhydration In Dogs?
Overhydration in dogs is incredibly rare. In most cases, excessive water consumption may point to an underlying medical issue, but there are also cases where there is no clear reason. Here’s what to look out for if you suspect your dog with overhydration.
- Increased urination
- Increased saliva
If you notice your dog can’t keep away from its water bowl, then it is best to see a veterinarian check that there is nothing more serious behind its increased thirst.
As much as we would like to monitor our dog’s water intake regularly, sometimes, it can really be challenging since we have other tasks to do. However, there are still ways to keep your dogs hydrated with just minimum supervision.
With the tips above, your dog will become more hydrated, and in return, will become more healthy. Remember that the tips above are an adjustment to your dog’s daily routine, so patience is needed as it will take quite some time
If you ever notice something is off with your dog’s drinking habits, seek help from your veterinarian immediately.