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Water Needs in Hot Weather and More


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Water is EVERYWHERE. It’s easy to take it for granted and miss the fact that it’s actually a nutrient. Indeed, water is an important source of nourishment for your pet.

Animals can survive if they lose their body fat and half their muscle. However, even a 10% loss of body water can result in very serious illness, because water is required for almost every bodily function. For our dogs, just as for us, hot weather increases the need for fresh water. A dog can become dehydrated in a matter of hours without it.

CLEAN & COOL WATER
The water that is made available to your dog must be clean. Untreated water can be a source of bacteria and parasites, Giardia being one of the common problems associated with drinking untreated water. Give attention, too, to the bowl your dog drinks from. A dirty dish harbors organisms that can make a pet ill. Stainless steel bowls or stoneware-style dishes are easy to wash and disinfect. In the hot months of summer, dogs like to lap up fresh, cool water; water at room temperature is suggested for the winter months.
THE NEED FOR WATER VARIES
Many factors affect the amount of water a dog needs. A healthy dog regulates his own consumption to meet the body’s needs at any given time. Factors such as high summer temperatures, exertion, and lactation increase the amount of water required. If the diet is primarily a canned variety, some of the moisture requirement is met in the food, and not as much water will be consumed. It is wise to simply keep the water bowl filled to the brim with fresh water. A little extra water intake is better than not enough.

THE NEED FOR WATER DURING TIMES OF ILLNESS
Sick dogs in all seasons pose special challenges. Often they stop drinking even though fevers and other disease processes increase their need for water. In this situation, the animal can become dehydrated at an alarmingly fast rate. An easy way to check for dehydration is to gently lift the skin on the animal’s back and observe if it readily snaps back. If not, a dehydration problem exists, and replacing fluids through intravenous or subcutaneous supplementation is necessary. Seek the help of your veterinarian. This summer, whether at home or on the go, keep clean, fresh water available. A hydrated, cool dog is a happy, healthy pet.

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