Dog Days of Summer
The summer weather is upon us, as is the importance of your dog having access to clean, fresh water. But, how do you know how much water your dog should be drinking per day? Is tap water a good source of drinking water? What are the signs of dehydration, and what should you do? These are all questions we should be asking to ensure our dogs have a healthy and safe summer!
How much water does your dog need?
As a general rule, healthy dogs need about ½-1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. So, a healthy 50 pound dog should be drinking about 25-50 ounces of clean water per day.
A dog that eats dry food will need more water than a dog that eats wet food, about 2.5 times the amount of dry food he eats.
In warm weather, your dog needs three to four times the amount he would normally drink. Make sure you don’t forget an outside water bowl – fill it regularly and keep it out of the sun.
Drinking will also prevent your dog from overheating during exercise. It is always best to bring water with you on your walks/runs or to the dog park.
Here are some ways to tell if your dog is drinking enough:
You observe your dog lapping several times a day from his water bowl and the level goes down in the bowl over the day.
Your dog is probably drinking enough if he urinates several times a day when you take him out.
Your dog is active and doesn’t seem lethargic.
Clean sources of water
Does your dog drink tap water? Bottled water? Does he like to drink out of toilets, ponds, puddles and lakes?
Water quality is just as important to your canine friend as it is to you. Giardia, a parasite that can live in your dog’s intestines, is one of the most common problems acquired through contaminated water (such as communal water bowls, ponds, puddles and lakes). All untreated water can harbor bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
Household tap water is considered to be safe but may contain high of nitrates, iron, or magnesium. You can ask your town to supply you with their annual water quality report to find out which chemicals are used in your water supply. Check with your veterinarian to see if any of those chemicals pose a danger to your dog.
Boiled or filtered water is one of the safest options for you and your pet. Filtered water will block out harmful chemicals in your tap water as well as any residue and sludge in the plumbing.
Note that softened water is different than filtered water, and is not recommended for your dog. The salts used to soften the water may be harmful for them to drink.
But remember, clean water will not help your pet if it is placed in a dirty bowl. You must supply your pets with a fresh, clean bowl every day and replace their water at least once a day. You should keep your pets water bowls as clean as your own glassware to prevent the growth of bacteria.
If you suspect that your dog is dehydrated, take him to a veterinarian immediately. Dehydration can cause serious illness and lead to death.
Some ways to determine if your dog is dehydrated is to lift his skin at the back of the neck and release it. If your dog is well hydrated, the skin will snap right back into place. Also, moist, slick gums indicate a good level of hydration while dull, sticky gums suggest dehydration.
Some other signs of dehydration are:
- Sunken eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
(If you are unsure, a call or visit to your veterinarian is always recommended.)
Have a happy, safe and FUN summer!