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How to Keep Your Pet Hydrated this Summer
By: Brianna Gunter
Summer has landed! The warm weather and sunshine mean more adventures for you and your four-legged family members, but these are also the hottest days of the year. While keeping your pet’s water bowl filled with clean, fresh water should be common sense, it can be easy to forget when you’re busy enjoying everything the season has to offer.
As it turns out, maintaining a full water bowl at home is just one thing you can do to keep your pet hydrated this summer.
How do dogs and cats become dehydrated?
Dehydration in pets is a dangerous condition that results from them losing more fluid than they take in. This is primarily caused by insufficient water consumption, though over-activity, excessive sweating, and certain medical conditions can put an animal at risk. Both extreme heat and sudden temperature changes in general can also increase a pet’s water needs, especially if they have not had time to acclimate.
According to PetMD, dogs need around 1 ounce of water (1/8 of a cup) per each pound of body weight a day. That said, hotter days and exercise can call for more, so don’t restrict your pet’s water intake for any reason unless your veterinarian advises you to do so.
Signs of dehydration in pets
- Excessive panting / gasping
- Sunken-looking eyes
- Dry-feeling mouth and nose
- Loss of skin elasticity (gently pinch an area of their skin and note how slowly it snaps back)
Pay close attention to your pet when outside, and watch for cues that they are overheating or dehydrated. If you are concerned they may be dehydrated, seek medical attention immediately. Depending on the severity of the condition, it may not be a simple matter of putting a fresh water bowl in front of them, so getting veterinary analysis is crucial.
6 tips to keep your pet hydrated this summer
1. Put your pet’s water bowl in an easy-to-see place
Many pet owners like to put their pet’s water bowl in a place where it won’t get in the way of foot traffic or in some cases, clash with their home décor. But in order to make sure your pal is getting the water she needs, it’s a good idea to keep the bowl where you can see it and top it off as needed. A prominent location will also help your pet find the bowl more easily.
2. Choose water bowls carefully
Some pets just don’t drink as much as they should on their own. This is where “fun” pet water bowls (like those with fountain features) can be extremely beneficial. If your pet is drawn in by the look or sound, they may be more likely to drink from it.
3. Check the forecast
It may be breezy and beautiful for now, but will the heat stay manageable if you’re out all afternoon? Always check the weather forecast before heading out, and choose your activity times accordingly. When you do go out, bring along more water than you think you’ll need.
In some cases with extreme heat, it may be best to just stay home with some fans or air conditioning. This is especially important for brachycephalic (short-snooted) dog breeds like English bulldogs, French bulldogs, Boston terriers, etc. as these dogs are less heat tolerant and have higher fluid needs.
4. Get a collapsible pet dish or water bottle
Packing extra items when you’re going on a hike or otherwise spending hours outside can be annoying. But don’t save space by ditching your pal’s water needs! Instead, invest in a good collapsible pet dish or a water bottle with a special hookup that allows your pet to drink from it. This will help you keep your four-legged friend hydrated on the go.
Be careful with standing water, (puddles, ponds, buckets, etc.) as these may contain harmful microorganisms that can be toxic or cause severe illness. Keeping a pet water bottle or bowl readily accessible (and offering it frequently) to your pet may help decrease their desire to drink from these unsafe water sources.
5. Conserve your pet’s energy
Instead of long walks or wild Frisbee sessions in the park, you and your pal can spend the hottest days doing more leisurely forms of exercise. Short walks around the block will suffice, and you can always play inside if you have air conditioning. If it’s hot indoors too, it’s fine to stick with rest and relaxation to conserve energy.
6. Provide some shade
All pets should have ready access to shade during summer, both indoors and out. If you have a yard that gets full sun, consider putting in a large umbrella, covered patio, or classic dog house to provide a quick escape for your pet. Always keep a water bowl outside in the shade too.
July is National Pet Hydration Month
Did you know that July is the hottest month of the year in the northern hemisphere? Appropriately, July also happens to be National Pet Hydration Month. While this month of awareness was established in the United States, it’s the perfect time for pet parents around the world to take stock of what they’re doing to keep dogs and cats hydrated and healthy.
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While you’re browsing our pet blog, please note that the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Trupanion. Our articles are reviewed by veterinarians for accuracy, but they are not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Always consult with your own pet’s veterinarian for advice.