Essential Water

Food Dishes

Midsummer. High sun. Hot days. Hot nights. Is your pet getting enough to drink?

Water is a necessity for Fido and Fluffy. Although, we see less dehydration in indoor cats than we do in outdoor dogs, it can occur. A dehydrated pet loses that sparkle in the eyes, the fur becomes ruffled, and the gums feel tacky. Prolonged dehydration can cause shut down of the kidneys and constipation.

How much water is necessary?
Determining how much water your pet needs depends upon the circumstances. Indoor pets, living in air conditioning, require less than active outdoor pets. A good rule of thumb is 1 fluid ounce of water per pound of body weight daily. For example, a 60 pound lab needs about 60 ounces of water (~1/2 gallon) while a 8 pound Yorkie needs only a cup (8 ounces). Cats generally drink half the amount of water dogs consume. Dog drinking from water fountain On sweltering summer days, dogs that are active may require up to twice their normal amount of water, which doesn’t include those baths they sometimes take in their water dishes! Cats don’t need as much water as dogs on these hot days, but they do require about 25% more water than their typical amount.

Water is a by product of every cellular function, from converting food into usable nutrients to conducting nerve impulses. When your pet becomes hot, more water is necessary to help cool the body. Remember: Pets do not sweat! Instead of sweating, pets will try to cool themselves by panting which allows them to lose heat off their lungs and their tongue.

Fish Bowl

When adequate water is unavailable, the body begins to conserve the water. Conserving water causes the kidneys to put out less urine and forces the stools to become drier. Ultimately, your pet’s body cells (which contain 75% water) start to shrivel and surrender their water stores. When this occurs, the acid-base balance shifts and the brain becomes saturated with salt. Salt can lead to devastating neurologic problems including comas and potentially death.

Prevention of this serious problem is simple:

Change your pet’s water daily or more frequently if necessary. Would you want to drink hot, slobber-filled, bug-infested water at bed time? Some dogs even enjoy to have a few ice cubes in the water bucket. Dogs that are in training or exercising regularly can also benefit from electrolyte solutions (sport drinks for example) given regularly in the summer and fall.

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Woodbury, MN 55125
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