a tired looking dog drinks from an outdoor public water fountain

We’ve had an unseasonably cold spring here in Chicagoland, but that doesn’t mean we can’t expect blisteringly-warm temperatures as the summer progresses. However, the heat doesn’t have to be extreme to place pets at risk of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and dehydration. Especially if you’re aware of proper pet hydration.

Keeping pets hydrated is simple, but it can easily slip our minds in all the excitement and activities of summer. July is Pet Hydration Awareness Month, and The Pet Experts want to use this opportunity to share the principles of pet hydration with our readers.

The Elixir of Life

Humans are comprised of about 60% water, and pets a whopping 80%! Being dehydrated, even slightly, can impair a pet’s ability to flush toxins from the organs and regulate their body temperature, and can lead to urinary tract infections and kidney stones in cats.

If your pet isn’t getting enough water (about 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day), you may notice signs of dehydration, such as:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Dry mouth/gums
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Skin test fail (pinch and release the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades, if it doesn’t fall quickly back into place your pet is dehydrated).

If you think your pet is dehydrated, offer fresh water immediately and then give us a call. Additionally, your pet should be seen right away if you notice any changes in drinking or elimination habits, as this could signal an underlying health problem.

Pet Hydration Tips

Make pet hydration a priority with advice from The Pet Experts:

  • Have several clean bowls of fresh water available at all times. Place a bowl in the shade when your pet is outdoors (add a few ice cubes to keep it cool).
  • Experiment with the type of bowl (stainless steel, ceramic, etc.) and bowl placement to find the right fit for your pet.
  • A little bit of chicken or beef broth in the water is sure to get your pet drinking.
  • Dry kibble has very little moisture – add water or wet food to your pet’s kibble to up their intake.
  • Many pets, especially cats, prefer to drink running water. A circulating pet fountain is a creative way to keep them hydrated. 
  • Try one of our DIY summer dog treat recipes – chock full of fresh fruits and veggies, this is a tasty way for pets to keep cool and hydrated.
  • While exercising or playing outside with your pet, take frequent water breaks in the shade. Bring a collapsible bowl for your pet to drink from.
  • Don’t forget the little guys! Small mammals, birds, and reptiles can suffer from dehydration too, so make sure they always have access to fresh water and report any behavior changes to your Springbrook Animal Care Center veterinarian immediately.
  • Every time you reach for a glass of ice water or lemonade, check your pet’s water bowl.

Have a wonderful, and fully hydrated summer – from all of us at Springbrook Animal Care Center!