A floofy dog rests its head on a blue water dish

We all know how important water is to our daily functioning, and the same is true for our pets. Pet’s bodies are made up of an even higher percentage of water than human bodies, and even mild dehydration can have a serious effect on their overall health and functioning.

July is Pet Hydration Awareness Month, the perfect time to look for ways to improve your pet’s water consumption!

Principles of Pet Hydration

The amount of water a pet needs depends on their activity level, weight, and diet, but in general, pets should drink about 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day for optimal pet hydration. So, a 20lb pet will need 20oz of water daily – that’s about as much as two-and-a-half glasses. An adequate water intake allows the body to flush toxins, aids in healing, keeps organs hydrated, and keeps energy levels up.

Beware the signs of dehydration in pets:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth/gums
  • Depression 

If you think your pet may be dehydrated, perform the skin test by pinching and releasing the skin in between their shoulder blades. In a properly hydrated pet, the skin will quickly fall back into place. If the skin returns slowly, your pet may be dehydrated and should be offered fresh water and seen by a veterinarian right away.

Pet Hydration Tips

  • Keep several bowls of fresh water available at all times, and clean the water bowls daily to keep it tasting fresh. 
  • Make sure to place a bowl in the shade for your dog while outdoors, and add ice cubes to keep it cool. 
  • While playing or exercising outdoors, take frequent breaks in the shade and offer water to your dog each time.
  • Try adding a little bit of beef or chicken broth to their water.
  • Add wet food to your cat’s diet. In the wild, much of a cat’s water intake comes from their prey. Dry kibble only contains 10% moisture, whereas wet food can contain up to 75%-80%.
  • Experiment with different types of bowls and bowl placement (for example, some cats won’t drink out of a metal bowl, or a bowl that is too close to their litter box).
  • Cats love running water – a circulating pet fountain is a great way to increase their interest in drinking

Keeping Exotic Pets Hydrated

Dogs and cats aren’t the only pets who need extra TLC during the warmer months. Birds, reptiles, and small mammals are also at risk of dehydration as the temperature rises. Make sure your exotic pet has access to fresh water at all times and that their enclosure is not placed in direct sunlight. 

If you notice any change in your pet’s droppings or behavior such as listlessness, lethargy, or inability to perch (birds), or any changes in their drinking or elimination habits, give The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center a call right away.