Does it seem like your dog never touches their water bowl? Are you cleaning it out, but never filling it up? Many dogs do not drink enough water, and can benefit from a more hydrating diet. Water is essential to your dog’s digestive health, brain health dental health, joints and muscles – every part of their body.
How Much Water A Dog Needs Each Day
According to WebMD, a dog needs about 1 fluid ounce per pound of body weight. That means a 4.5 kg/10 pound dog would need 10 ounces, and a 27.2kg/60 pound dog would need 7.5 cups.
You do not need to measure out your dog’s water each day to figure out if they are drinking enough. It’ll be impossible to calculate perfectly because you’ll need to factor in evaporation, water intake from food and how much water is sloshed around on the floor.
If your dog is active, make sure they are drinking fluids before, during and after exercise. Also offer water during leisurely strolls, more frequently when it’s hot out. Though dogs do not sweat all over like humans do, they do perspire from their paws. Your dog cools down by panting, during which water evaporates from their tongue – another way they lose water during the day.
Is It Safe To Limit Water Intake During Housetraining?
Some trainers advise that you take away your dog’s water after 6PM or so to limit nighttime accidents. While limiting water will cut your dog’s urine output, this also puts an unnecessary strain on the kidneys.
Remember to give your dog access to water while they are being crated. Use a clip-on water bowl to keep your dog from tipping it over. If, for any reason, your dog will not have access to water for a few hours, for example, during travel or before surgery, make sure they have plenty of water before and after. Your dog will be okay if they occasionally spend a few hours without water access, but it should not be a habit.
What Happens When Dogs Are Dehydrated
If your dog is mildly dehydrated, they may have dry skin. Their gums may be dry and sticky to the touch. Try grabbing the skin at the nape of your dog’s neck. On a hydrated dog, that skin will be highly elastic and snap back into place, while on a dehydrated dog, it will slowly move down.
Your dog’s poop may be dry, and they may strain when they go. Water is essential for digestion, helping break down food in the stomach and keep stools soft enough to pass easily through the intestines.
Water also helps regulate body temperature. If your dog is dehydrated when it’s hot out, they can collapse, even die of a heat stroke.
How To Increase Your Dog’s Water Intake
If your dog eats a diet that consists mainly of kibble, it’s unlikely that they drink enough water on their own to make up for their dry diet. A canned or partially canned diet contains more moisture, though it may still not be enough to keep your dog properly hydrated. Fresh foods like raw or cooked meat (never feed cooked bones, as they splinter), pureed vegetables and tinned, low-sodium fish packed in water are all safe, high-moisture add-ins that help hydrate your dog.
Adding tempting flavourings to your dog’s water will encourage them to drink. Broth – veggie, chicken, beef or bone – can all be diluted to make a delicious beverage. Just make sure they are low in sodium and do not contain any onion, which is toxic to dogs. Bone broth contains collagen, which supports joint and digestive health, and you can make it in a slow cooker or pressure cooker and freeze it.
Your dog may avoid drinking water if their bowl is dirty. You should completely empty their bowls, wash with mild detergent, rinse thoroughly and refill at least once per week, preferably more often. A stainless steel water bowl is easier to sanitize and lasts longer than plastic.
Drinking too much or too little water can be a sign of diabetes, kidney disease or Cushing’s disease. It can also be a side effect of a medication. Ask your veterinarian if your dog’s water-drinking habits seem unusual or suddenly change.