DURING HOT SUMMER MONTHS, it is important to keep an eye on your dog’s
water intake. Water is an extremely important nutrient for all animals. Most dogs require their body weight in kilograms multiplied by 100 to give the amount of water in milliliters per day. Some of a dog’s water intake comes from their food, however most of it comes from drinking. Severe problems can arise if pets do not consume enough water each day. Similar to heat stroke in humans, dehydration causes damage to many internal organs and causes the dog a lot of discomfort. Because dogs have minimal numbers of sweat glands, the only way for dogs to release heat and cool themselves down is by panting, the process of evaporation of the sweat released from glands in their feet and finding a cool environment.
Signs of dehydration can include:
• panting with a lolling, dry tongue
• dry nose
• sunken eyes
• fainting and collapse
Because dogs may lose a lot of body water in their sweat and while panting,
it is important that they have access to fresh water at all times. In the summer,
dogs may appreciate a few ice cubes in their drinking water to help them cool
down. Some dogs enjoy eating ice cubes or a special ‘popsicle’ made with water
and a small amount of canned food.
There are many types of water bowls available. It is recommended that glass or stainless steel is chosen because plastic is more difficult to keep clean and some dogs can develop allergies to plastics, resulting in painful skin irritations on their faces.
Fresh and Clean
Water must be fresh, and changed at least once per day to help prevent the
development of mould, fungus and bacteria. The bowls should be cleansed
daily with pet-friendly detergents. Dogs are more likely to consume clean, fresh and cool water, which is why you may often find your furry friend drinking out of the toilet bowl. It is important to either close the lid of the toilet and/or refrain from any toilet bowl chemical additives that can harm your dog. For dogs who prefer flowing water, special dog fountains can be purchased at most pet stores.
If you suspect that your dog is dehydrated it is important to bring him to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Dehydration is an emergency state, and
your dog may require intravenous fluids and restoration of electrolytes in a safe
and efficient manner. He may need to be closely monitored and hospitalized.
It is important to determine the original cause of the dehydration so that it can be
avoided in the future.