We all know these NC summers are filled with fun cookouts, much-anticipated vacations, and a TON of time in the sunshine! However, we (and our fur babies) know just how hot and humid it can get in during these peak summertime months. Now is the time to ensure our fur babies stay cool, comfortable, and properly hydrated! Our team at FVC is using this month to provide some general knowledge and helpful tips for our pet owners as the warmer weather approaches!
How Did This All Start?
Pet Hydration Awareness Month was introduced by PetSafe, an electronic pet training product manufacturer, to help educate pet owners about proper water intake as they brave one of the hottest times of the year! This month emphasizes the importance of overall hydration and raises awareness about the early warning signs of dehydration. The month also aims to focus on the dangers of water intoxication, which occurs due to constant exposure to water bodies such as pools or garden hoses.
How Can I Be Sure My Pet Gets Enough Water?
Pet dehydration is an often overlooked, yet critical area that can affect your pet’s general health and well-being. Proper hydration helps to keep your pet’s energy levels high by assisting in converting fat into energy so they have enough for vigorous exercise and play. It also helps to keep the urinary tract and kidneys healthy by flushing toxins from the body. They’ll heal and recover more quickly from illness and injury too. In a perfect world, a dog needs an ounce of water for every pound it weighs and a cat needs about 4 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight in a day. We have gathered a list of helpful and realistic tips to ensure our fur babies are drinking enough water.
- Try to offer fresh water at ALL times! Try to have multiple bowls available in the areas where your pet hangs out the most. Furthermore, some pets prefer a fountain that keeps water running and fresh.
- Put broth or ice cubes in the water dish to entice more drinking
- Add water to their food at meals to increase daily water intake
- Ensure you have a travel bowl and water bottle with you while you are traveling, out and about, or exercising/walking
- Put a little bit of water on your fingers/hands and let your pet lick it off; this may encourage water drinking when they are resisting
How Would I Know If My Pet Is Dehydrated?
As responsible pet owners, we need to keep a close eye on our fur babies when they are exposed to excessive heat. Here are some general indicators that our pets may be experiencing dehydration:
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Sunken eyes
- Excessive panting
- Elevated body temp
- Racing heart
You know your pet best – if they are not acting like themselves, it may be time to act! If you suspect your fur baby is experiencing a heat stroke or heat exhaustion, move them somewhere cool, expose them to cool water or towels, situate them in front of a mild fan, and give your trusted veterinarian a ring.
What Is Water Intoxication?
Haven’t heard about water intoxication in dogs, huh? Well, we’ll say it straight – there is a thing as consuming TOO much water. Water intoxication, also known as hyponatremia, is a relatively rare but potentially fatal condition that is most commonly seen in dogs that love their water time! Active games that involve retrieving items or diving into bodies of water can cause them to ingest large quantities of water very quickly. It can also happen when they “catch” pressurized water from sprinklers or hoses. Excessive amounts of water cause the body to lose sodium and the cells begin to fill with water and swell. Here are some overall common indicators that your pet may be experiencing intoxication:
- Loss of coordination
- Glazed eyes
- Excessive salivation
- Difficulty breathing
Unfortunately, water intoxication progresses quickly. If you suspect your fur baby is experiencing this, call your trusted veterinarian immediately and get ready to head on over!
We hope you have learned a little bit more about pet hydration and awareness! We (and your fur baby) thank you for taking the time to read through this and stay tuned for our next monthly blog, making its appearance in August!