Daily hydration is just as important for our pets as it is for us. National Pet Hydration Awareness Month occurs in July, just as temperatures are starting to climb. According to PetSafe, the bodies of our pets (dogs, cats, birds, and other animals in our care) are of a higher percentage of water than our own. This is a fact that most of us are unaware of, and one that could be vital to our pet’s health and wellbeing. PetSafe also states that our pets need one ounce of water per pound of body weight on a daily basis and that most pets do not meet this requirement, especially when temperatures become extreme.
Symptoms of dehydration are: sunken eyes, reduced energy level, panting, loss of appetite, vomiting without diarrhea, dry mouth, and depression. If your pet is severely dehydrated, take them to the vet immediately. To avoid dehydration, always keep clean and fresh water available and accessible, monitor the frequency with which your pet drinks, perform the skin test to check for “tenting.” If your pet’s skin remains tented, you may need to seek professional assistance from a veterinarian to rehydrate your pet. Another way to aid their fluid intake during warmer weather is to feed them wet food or add water to their kibble.
Another hydration concern during summer months is hypernatremia, a condition that comes from a pet ingesting too much salt, or hyponatremia which is water intoxication. Symptoms include loss of coordination, bloating, excessive drooling, and pale gums. Both of these conditions can be fatal so medical attention should be provided immediately. Be sure to take plenty of fresh water to the beach and carefully monitor your pet’s salt-water intake.
For additional information on helping your pets in the heat, see our blog on Sun Safety and Heat Awareness.