As we put June behind us and the 4th of July holiday is literally right around the corner, you don’t need to be a meteorologist to know that the heat is on and summer is here to stay in the United States. What you may not know however is that July is National Pet Hydration Awareness Month. With an average temperature that is just shy of the 80-degree mark, both July and August are by far the hottest months of the year nationally. So, with that in mind, let’s review some things that will help keep both you and your pet safe and comfortable this summer!
Many people know that it is recommended that human beings drink (8) eight oz glasses of water every day. That adds up to nearly two liters. During warmer months, that recommended amount is closer to two and a half liters. Since the human body cools itself by sweating, it is essential to drink enough so that we can avoid dehydration.
Dogs on the other hand need quite a bit more. Even though dogs don’t sweat like humans do, water still plays a vital role in their health. Not only does water carry important nutrients in and out of the cells of their body, it also aids in digestion and the absorption of those nutrients. In addition, it lubricates their joints and cushions both their brain and spinal cord, as well as playing a role in helping them to regulate body temperature. As a rule of thumb, adult dogs need about one oz. of water per pound. That means that your Italian Greyhound or American Eskimo (toy) needs a little over a cup of fresh water a day, but your Akita, American Bulldog, Irish Wolfhound, or Newfoundland is going to need almost a gallon each and every day! This rule of thumb applies to adult dogs, since puppies moving to solid food from their mother’s milk actually will drink more water than their adult counterparts. This is also true for older dogs compared to younger, healthy, adult dogs, and for pregnant or lactating dogs as well.
Now let’s take a look at some of the DO’s and DON’Ts for proper hydration for your thirsty pal!
- DO make sure to keep fresh water on hand at all times. This may mean keeping a water bowl at various places where your pooch hangs out, including but not limited to inside next to their food bowl, near their bed, and in a shady spot outside if your pet is outdoors for even part of the day.
- DO make sure to change the water in all their bowls DAILY. Just like you and I, a dog prefers fresh, clean water.
- DO make sure to clean their water bowls DAILY. This should go without saying, but a clean bowl makes for clean water. So don’t forget to clean that water bowl with some hot, soapy water every day to prevent bacteria. If you have a dishwasher, you can toss it in once a week to completely disinfect it as well!
- DO monitor their daily intake so that you can make sure they are drinking enough water, as well as to keep them from drinking too much water. Too much or too little can be a sign of a condition that needs a closer look from the vet, so keeping track is vital, and spotting and diagnosing a problem quickly is always best.
- DO make sure to keep enough water in the bowl, even if you are house-training a new puppy. You can remove the water bowls 2-3 hours before their bedtime, allowing for that last potty break right before you turn in for the night, and helping them make it until morning without incident. But as stated above, puppies actually need more water than adult dogs for proper health, this is especially true if they are on a totally dry kibble diet.
- DO keep their water in a large bowl, typically one that will hold more than they need for a single day. Metal or ceramic type bowls are generally best, since porous, plastic bowls can build up bacteria.
- DO offer them cold water on hot days. Some dogs like to chew on ice as well, and a few cubes will not only add to getting them their daily intake, but can also be a refreshing treat on a hot summer day!
- DON’T forget to bring water with you when taking your pal on a walk or jog, and if you take them somewhere such as the park, a friend’s house, etc. There are many types of portable or foldable water bowls you can bring along with you, or you can have fun teaching your buddy to drink right from your hand.
- DON’T forget to make frequent stops for drinks when walking, jogging, or playing outside. Dogs can get dehydrated quickly, and will sometimes vomit if they intake too much water too quickly, which will of course lead to even more dehydration issues.
- DON’T forget about your feline friend! Cat’s also need fresh water, and only slightly less than your puppy pals. 3.5-4.5 oz of water for every 5 lbs of body weight should do it, which means if you have a 10 lb kitty, they should be drinking about half of an average bottle of water every day.
So, to quote Loren Eisley, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” Now that you and your barking buddy are informed and ready for the summer season and all it offers, drink up, and get out there and enjoy! These helpful tips have been brought to you by www.harveyspet.com. Providing local pet services like a hotel, daycare, spa, training, supplies, and much, much more, Harvey’s’ Pet is the premiere “Spot” in Johnstown, NY for all things pet related!