Like most animals, dogs will drink water as and when they need to in order to stay hydrated, assuming of course that clean water is available to them and they are not sick or otherwise suffering from any problems that may make them refuse water. This means that keeping a dog hydrated is not something that we as owners generally need to think too much about, as much like people, your dog will drink when they feel thirsty or when they need to.
However, certain scenarios and times of year can make it easier for dogs to become dehydrated than it is usually, and this is something that all dog owners should be aware of and try to avoid. Dehydration in the dog can be fast in onset and affect all of your dog’s core systems-and the worse the dehydration and the longer it continues, the more risk there is of serious permanent damage occurring to your dog’s health.
In this article we will share six tips for dog owners on how to make sure that you provide for their need for water effectively at all times, and how to avoid your dog becoming dehydrated. Read on to learn more.
The first and most important element of avoiding dehydration in your dog is to ensure that they always have free access to fresh, clean water. This may sound simple and obvious, but it does require a level of vigilance!
Rinse and replenish your dog’s water bowls a couple of times a day, wash the bowls regularly and steer clear of plastics or other materials that bowls may be made of that can leach chemicals into the water over time. These will not only taint the taste of the water to your dog and so, make them avoid drinking from that bowl, but can also affect their health.
Additionally, make sure that your dog’s bowl is deep and wide enough for them to be able to drink from comfortably and that their bowl is somewhere that is both freely accessible to them, and that feels safe and quiet enough so that your dog can relax.
You should always take water out with your dog when you go walking, and offer it to them every half an hour at a minimum. A dog that doesn’t drink a little during their walks will be very thirsty and potentially, even already entering dehydration when you get home, and so will want to gulp down a whole bowl of water immediately. This can lead to problems in and of itself, which can be avoided by giving your dog a few sips of water regularly when you are out and about and they are working hard.
If your dog seems reluctant to drink or you are trying to encourage them to drink more-such as because they are recovering from dehydration or need more fluids due to a health condition-there are lots of different things that you can try to encourage them to drink a little more.
Using a plain, salt-free stock or stock cube to flavour the water is a good place to start, and you can also try mixing water into your dog’s food, whether that is wet or dry. Also, feeding wet food instead of dry will help to get more fluids into your dog, as dry food does of course have a much lower water content.
Even trying out a moving water fountain to decant your dog’s water and so, make it more interesting may help when it comes to keeping them hydrated!
Dog food of all varieties is carefully nutritionally balanced to provide everything that your dog needs, and of course, some foods are better quality than others. However, even if you feed your dog the optimum diet, you can soon undo all of that good work if you feed them treats and snacks that contain salt or other diuretics, which covers a wide range of different human foods and snacks.
Only give your dog treats that are designed for them, and keep an eye on the salt and sugar content of dog treats too.
Dogs need to drink more water in hot weather-often significantly more, as drinking water is one of the dog’s main methods of staying cool. Dogs are very sensitive to temperature changes and can have difficulties regulating their own temperature if they get too hot, which can lead to dehydration and potential heatstroke very easily.
Take other steps too to protect your dog from the worst of the heat, and always provide cooling water, regardless of they they are doing.
One of the main risks of often otherwise minor and short-term health problems in dogs such as stomach upsets is dehydration, because the dog will be unable to keep anything in their stomachs for very long. If your dog has not drunk any water and/or kept it down for six hours or longer, talk to your vet as they may wish to check your dog out.