July is National Pet Hydration Awareness Month. Why? Because it’s so gosh darn hot. We’re sure you’ve heard how a human’s body is made up of 60% water, so it’s important to replenish your fluids by drinking lots of water. Well, your pets are 80% water, so they need that replenishment even more than you do!
What exactly does drinking water do for your pet’s body? Well, most importantly for this time of year, it helps them regulate their body temperature better. But it also promotes urinary tract health and keeps their kidneys healthy.
Water also helps animals convert fat to energy (see #5 in the linked article), so being properly hydrated helps ensure they’ve got lots of energy to run and play. Hydration also helps flush toxins from the body and generally helps with recovery from sickness, injury, or surgery more quickly.
HOW TO HYDRATE
Always keep on the lookout for signs of dehydration (which we told you about in our last blog). And follow our tips on how to not overwork your dog during these hotter months.
But what can you do apart from that? What’s a good way to make sure they’re getting enough water? A good rule of thumb is that they need one ounce of water per pound of body weight. So a 20-pound dog, for example, needs 20 ounces of water per day. And obviously, the more they’re in the heat or exercising, the more hydration they’ll need.
So how do you make sure that’s the case?
Make sure they always have access to it. And make sure it’s fresh, clean, and inviting. Leaving a bowl of water sitting there for a couple of days isn’t going to do the trick; yuck. Cleaning their water bowl every day stops build-up of bacteria and ensures that no matter when they’re thirsty, they’ll get something refreshing and clean. Pet fountains are a great way to keep water filtered and clean and moving around to prevent it getting gross as much as possible.
Feeding wet food instead of dry, or putting water in their dry food, is another way to get extra water into their diet.
Beyond that, in many situations keeping them hydrated is just a matter of keeping them in mind. Are you traveling? When you stop for a drink, give them a drink too! At the park? Hiking? Your pet will be just as thirsty as you, if not more so, so make sure you’re keeping them in mind so they don’t overheat. Bringing a water bottle and a collapsible pet bowl will make short work of their thirst. But also, making sure they have shade when they go outside by themselves or with you helps cool them down.
Keeping your pet hydrated isn’t hard; it’s really just thinking of them like one of the family, and remembering that their needs are the same as yours. Speaking of which, you been drinking enough water?