Summer is in full swing and all over the country we are seeing soaring temperatures in the high 90’s and 100’s. And with July being one of the hottest months of the year, it should come as no surprise that much of the country seems to be experiencing a heat wave. As a friendly reminder, we want to encourage each of you to not only keep yourselves hydrated but your pets as well!
For as much as we know about what it takes to keep ourselves healthy, pet-health education doesn’t always get the same coverage in the media. Proper hydration is a key component in maintaining good health, however during extreme heat warnings hydration is critical and dehydration can have serious and immediate health risks to both us and our pets.
Did you know that our pet’s bodies are made up of a higher water percentage than our own? Dogs and cats are made up of about 80 percent water, as compared to our 50 to 60 percent. And more often than not, our pets are not drinking enough water. Pet’s however require different quantities of water depending on their size and what sort of food they eat. For example, a dog that eats a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet may require less water than a dog who eats strictly dry kibble, because fruits and veggies contain a lot of water within them. But a general rule of thumb is that your pet should drink one fluid ounce of water per pound of body weight. So, a 10 pound dog should drink roughly 10 fluid ounces per day, whereas a 100 pound dog should drink roughly 100 fluid ounces.
If your pet does not seem to be drinking as much as they should, it could be due to fussiness over their water. My dog for example will only drink water when it is poured fresh into his bowl. Dogs and cats have their quirks so be sure and provide plenty of fresh water, which should be replaced at least daily - or in my case, about 4 or 5 times a day for my queen bee.
If you are a multiple pet household, try and keep at least the same number of water bowls as you have pets. And make sure they’re in places throughout the home that are easily accessible to them all. But if you suspect your pet may not be drinking enough water or may be dehydrated, here are a few ways to cross check.
- Pull gently on the scruff of their necks, and their skin should spring back into place. If their skin slowly dips back into place or stays elevated, it could be a sign of severe dehydration.
- Check their gums. If they’re moist and pink in color, your pet is staying well-hydrated. When they become dry, pale in color and tacky is when you should worry that your pet is not getting enough fluids in their diet.
At the start of the Summer, we put together a great blog post that highlights ways to help keep your pets cool, healthy and hydrated while knowing the signs of heatstroke! We encourage you all to revisit that post for ways to keep your pets safe this season. But should you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s hydration and/or overall well-being, please consult your veterinarian for advice and direction! Stay cool out there, FuRRiends!