Water and Your Dog’s Health

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Are you concerned about your dog’s water intake? Worried they are drinking too much or not enough? Water is an essential part of a dog’s body and critical to good health. Water is essential for all cellular, organ, and tissue functions of the body. Although it is more common for a dog to drink too little water, remember that drinking excessive amounts of water might also indicate a health problem and can be harmful to the dog in the long run.

Factors that Affect How Much a Dog Should Drink:

There are factors that can impact how much water a dog should drink. For example:

  • Dry Dog Food vs. Canned Dog Food. Dry dog food has approximately 15 and up to 30% water while canned dog food can contain 50% to 75% water. Dogs that eat canned food may drink and require less water.
  • Body Weight. Bigger dogs require more water than smaller dogs. Water requirements are based on body weight.
  • Sodium. Just as we have increased thirst after ingestion of a high salt snack, ingestion of high sodium foods in dogs can create a need for increased amounts of water intake.
  • Exercise & Activity. Dogs that are more active generally drink and require more water.
  • Weather Exposure. The high temperatures of the spring and summer generally cause dogs to pant. Panting helps them regulate their body temperature but also is a way they lose water. It is critical for dogs to have access to shade but also plenty of fresh clean water at all times.
  • Drug Therapy. Some medications may increase a dog’s water intake. Drugs may include steroids or diuretics such as Furosemide (commonly known as Lasix).
  • Disease. Some diseases such as kidney disease or Diabetes can cause increased thirst in dogs.

How Much Water Is Enough?

A Good Rule of Thumb: Make sure your dog gets at least 1 ounce of water daily for each pound they weigh. That means a 20-pound dog needs at least 20 ounces of water every day. That’s more than 2 cups, or as much as in some bottles of water or soda.

To help you keep track of how much water your dog drinks, make a note of how high you fill their water bowl and how far the level has dropped the next day.

Tips to Ensure that a Dog is Getting Enough Water:

There are a few simple ways to ensure that a dog is getting proper hydration. Since most dogs wont over hydrate, these tips are aimed at the cases where a dog might not be getting enough water.

A)Use an Auto Replenishing Water Bowl:

In the cases when we are going to be away from the house, use an auto replenishing water bowl so that the dog has an ample supply of water throughout the day.

B)Refill the Water Bowl Multiple Times per Day:

If you use a regular, old fashioned bowl for your dog’s water, make sure to refill the bowl several times during the day. This will ensure that the water is fresh and free of backwash. It will also give you an indication of your dog’s overall thirst.

C)Refill the Water Bowl Before Exercise:

Although dogs don’t sweat like humans, they will tend to drink water after vigorous exercise. Make sure that their water bowl is full of fresh, clean water before you exercise with your dog.

D)Add Water to Food:

Adding water to a dog’s meal is another way to make sure that they are getting plenty of water. This is especially important if feeding dry kibble, but a little water can be added to any type of food. Most dogs will slurp up the extra water while they devour their meal.

E)Use Fruits and Vegetables as Snacks:

Fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of water. Using these as snacks, or adding directly to their meal, is a great way to increase a dog’s water intake while providing valuable vitamins and fiber.

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