Importance of Water for Pets

Veterinarians agree that proper water consumption is crucial to the health of both cats and dogs. In general a healthy dog should be expected to drink about 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. Keep in mind, that a dog that eats dry food will need slightly more water.

Because cats have a much smaller range of weights, the correct amount of water consumption is simply a recommendation of between 2-4 ounces of water per day. And, cats that eat dry food will also need slightly more water.

Without proper water consumption, cats and dogs may experience dehydration, defined as an imbalance of water and electrolytes in the body. Fluid loss can be due to overheating in hot weather, increased activity or a bout of vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration may also indicate a serious underlying problem.

A simple exam recommended for both cats and dogs to check for dehydration is to grab a piece of skin at the back of the neck. A properly hydrated pet’s skin will “snap” back into place. If your pet is dehydrated the skin will return slowly.

If your pet seems to be refusing to drink enough water for an extended period you should consider taking it to the vet. However, there are a few things you can try before you rush off to the vet.

For Dogs:

  • You can try to encourage the drinking of water by offering praise when your dog drinks.
  • Keep a water bowl of fresh water nearby his food and bed or anywhere else he frequently spends time.
  • Try using a water bowl with a weighted bottom if your dog tends to from knock over his/her bowl.
  • Add a flavor packet such as chicken, bacon or beef to the water.
  • Provide clean drinking water at all times, and change it frequently to ensure freshness. It’s worth mentioning to not forget to wash your pet’s water bowl every day to prevent bacteria from forming.

For Cats:

  • Sprinkle a small quantity of water onto your cat’s food.
  • Place the water in a glass bowl as some other materials may leave an objectionable taste in her mouth.
  • Try using filtered or bottled water.
  • Replace the water frequently to keep it fresh and clean.

Maintaining proper hydration is very important for good pet health, so it is something that you might want to consider monitoring quite seriously.

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