WHY YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR DOG HYDRATED
One nutrient is more important to your dog’s good health than any other. It’s not protein. It’s not carbohydrates. It’s not vitamins. It’s water.
A frequently neglected nutrient, water is the most critical nutrient required by a dog (or any animal) for survival. Your dog can live for weeks without food, but a lack of water can cause severe dehydration, organ failure or worse within a few days. Here's what to look for and how to handle it asap should dehydration occur with your furry friend.
Causes and Signs of Dehydration
Your dog may get dehydrated for various reasons, ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to panting or playing outside without having access to water. Signs of dehydration include lethargy, loss of elasticity in the skin (do a pinch test to see if skin ‘bounces back’ into place or stays pinched for various seconds), and a sunken appearance in the eyes. Another test you should conduct is to press on your dog’s gums until they become white. If blood rushes back to the gums quickly, it is a good sign. If it takes three or more seconds to do so, it is a sign that your dog is very dehydrated.
Tips for Keeping Your Dog Hydrated
If you have a dog then you know that your pet can easily empty its water bowl so there are several steps you can take to ensure that your dog always has water when needed.
One option is to have bowls in different areas — including indoor and outdoor spaces your dog can easily access. A popular option is a pet water dispenser providing continual water access. This device, which is also affordable enough to place in various zones in your home, looks a little like a fountain and some models come with inbuilt filters for optimal quality water. Keep your dispenser or bowls clean, since dogs will be more likely to lap up fresh water that does not have a stale taste. When choosing bowls or dispensers, opt for plastic-free models, since plastic can easily be chewed or scratched, leading to bacterial buildup. Moreover, plastics can contain BPA and other harmful chemicals and they can cause dogs allergic flare-ups.
Tips for Dogs on the Move
If you have an active lifestyle and you like to camp, spend the day out in nature, or travel frequently, Rubber Travel Bowls or Go! Portable Bowls are a good option since they take less space and are light.
When is Dehydration Considered an Emergency?
In cases of severe dehydration, your dog may have bright red gums and a rapid heart rate and weak pulse. They may shake, faint, and in some cases, die. If your dog has heatstroke, consider it an emergency and take it to a veteran quickly. Before even getting into a car, call your vet, as the latter may recommend giving your dog small amounts of water until they improve. Do not give them too much water at once as this may cause them to vomit and become even more dehydrated. Finally, keep electrolyte powder at home as it can help in cases of severe dehydration. Consult with your vet first regarding the appropriate powder and dosage.
Dogs are intuitive animals that usually drink as much as they need. Make sure your dog never gets dehydrated by providing it with fresh, clean water daily.
In the event that you do notice signs of severe dehydration or heatstroke, call your veterinarian immediately.