Water, the most important of all the
nutrients your pet consumes, is essential
for almost every bodily function. While
an animal can lose all of its fat and half
of its protein and survive, only a 10%
loss of body water causes serious illness.
Dogs generally drink about 3/4 to 1 cup of
water for every 10 pounds of body weight
each day. Your dog should drink approximately the
same amount of water daily. However, several factors
can affect water intake. Hot weather, exercise, nursing,
and certain medications may cause a dog to drink
more water. Conversely, dogs who are ill, aged, or fed
a moisture-rich canned food diet may drink less water.
You can easily monitor the amount of
water your dog drinks. Pour a sufficient amount
in the morning (i.e. 4 cups for a 40-pound dog), then
measure how much is left at bedtime. If your dog
drinks all the water, serve more the next day and see
what remains. Track your dog's water consumption for
3-4 days to determine the average amount.
If you discover that your dog is not
drinking enough water, encourage drinking by
adding ice cubes or low-sodium chicken or beef broth
to his water supply. You can also try a pet fountain,
to make water more appealing.
If you observe an unusual change in your
dog's drinking (or urination) habits,
visit your veterinarian to rule out underlying medical
problems such as urinary tract infection, diabetes
mellitus, kidney disease, or Cushing's disease.