Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hydration and Dogs: How Much Water Does Your Dog Need?

Many dog owners spend a lot of time researching what kind of diet to feed the dog, how much to feed, and even what nutrients in dog food are actually the best. Yet of all the nutrients in your dog’s diet, water is the most important and tends to be not even on the radar of the owners attention.

Exercise, Climate Temperature, or Anxiety Are Cause for More Water

A dog can lose 6% of body weight before the idea even occurs to them to drink. Like humans who exercise drinking water before exercise, during exercise, and after exercise is necessary to keep proper hydration. Unlike a human, dogs don’t appear to be losing hydration because they do not sweat like we do. They do not have sweat glands in their skin, instead they lose water through their nose, tongue, and paws.

Keeping this in mind, it makes sense that a dog who is exercising, or has high anxiety loses hydration since panting is sweating in dog form. You’ll also notice that a dog who is stressed or is showing signs of anxiety will leave a dog paw print on the floor. That’s another form of sweat leaving your dog’s body.

How Much Water Does You Dog Need?

The amount of water your dog needs daily depends on the size of your dog, the amount of exercise, the climate your dog spends time in, and what kind of dog food you are feeding. Considering these variables the amount can change from day to day.

Don’t consider these cold hard numbers but as general guidelines the amount of water your dog should get on a daily basis might something like this:

A 7 lb adult Maltese with activities consisting of one 20 minute slow walk and some light indoor activities, would need approximately 1½ cup of water throughout the day to maintain a proper level of body fluids.

A dog weighing 65 lbs would require approximately 7 cups of water depending on exercise, anxiety, and diet.

How Should I Keep My Dog Hydrated?

The challenge in keeping your dog hydrated is that they don’t know when to drink, and most of the time in more strenuous activity or exercise, won’t think to go drink on their own. Here are some things you can do to encourage your dog to drink water, stay hydrated and get out and have some fun.

•Make Sure Your Dog Drinks Before a “Workout”
•Take Water & a Frisbee (to use as a water bowl) On Outings
•Give Ice Cubes as Treats
•Put Ice Cubes in the Water Bowl
•If You Are Thirsty During Activity; So Is Your Dog
•If You are Hot; Your Dog is Hotter
•Put More Than One Bowl of Water Out in Another Location
•Put a Treat in the Bottom of the Water Bowl
•Play Water Games While Teaching To Drink from the Hose

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