If you’ve ever over-exerted yourself on a hot day, you probably know how lousy dehydration can make you feel. It’s also quite easy to become dehydrated when many of us drink more soda and less water each day than we should. That’s why it’s not a stretch to assume that dehydration in pets can pose several problems and make them quite ill, as well.

In fact, our small furry friends are prone to dehydration because they often do not consume enough water, and they’re prone to overheating due to their inefficient means of body temperature regulation. Since the long, hot, and humid days of summer are soon to come, let’s take a look at dehydration in pets and what you can do to make sure your pet is getting enough water.

Pet Dehydration

Dogs, cats, and other species all need water for their bodies to function. Water is the basis for a number of critical functions, including transporting nutrients to the brain and central nervous system, removing toxins, and regulating temperature.

Dehydration occurs when the body is losing more water than it’s able to acquire, which can happen quickly in cases of heatstroke. Young pets, those with health conditions, geriatric pets, and toy and small breeds can also dehydrate much more rapidly. By the time many pet owners notice the symptoms of dehydration, it can often be a critical matter. Please do not hesitate to call us if you suspect your pet has become dehydrated.

Signs that could indicate dehydration include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Excessive panting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry, tacky gums

Pets become dehydrated for a number of reasons. Heatstroke definitely plays a significant role in the number of emergency cases each year, but illnesses that cause vomiting or diarrhea can also lead to dehydration.

Cats are also often chronically dehydrated, as they’re more particular about their drinking water and sometimes do not get the necessary moisture required from their diet.

How Much Water Should a Pet Drink?

There’s no one answer as to how much a cat or dog should drink each day. Variables like size, age, health, and activity level are all important factors. However, on average, you should expect a healthy dog to drink one ounce of water per pound of body weight; cats should consume 5-10 ounces daily. Those on a wet food diet also benefit from the high moisture content of the food.

Ways to Prevent Dehydration in Pets

For those pets who need a little encouragement in the water drinking department, consider these helpful tips:

  • Add a bit of low sodium chicken broth or tuna juice to your pet’s water.
  • A few ice cubes can help keep the water cool (and might capture your pet’s interest).
  • Water fountain-type dispensers are sure to please your finicky feline.
  • Keep bowls clean by running them through the dishwasher frequently.
  • Offer more than one water bowl, placing them in different locations throughout the home.

If your pet isn’t drinking enough water or if you have any concerns about dehydration in pets, please call The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital for assistance.