Water is essential for all life. It is required for every chemical process in the body: it moisturizes the air in the lungs, transports oxygen and other nutrients to cells via the bloodstream, regulates body temperature, and lubricates joints while also protecting internal organs. Drinking enough water is vital for your dog’s health. In fact, 70 percent of your dog’s body is made up of water. But how much water should he or she drink to stay healthy?
Many dog owners leave out water with little thought as to how much their dog will drink or needs to drink. Monitoring your dog’s water intake can prevent illnesses while also improving her health. Just like humans, some dogs naturally do this while others over-drink or under-drink. Drinking too much water can lead to toxicity and electrolyte imbalances; drinking too little water can lead to dehydration, organ failure, and even death. Find out whether your dog is drinking enough water.
Dog Hydration Guidelines for Pet Owners
A general rule of thumb for determining the amount of water a dog should drink daily is 1 ounce (1/8 of a cup) of fluids per pound of body weight. For example, a 10-pound dog should drink approximately 10 fluid ounces per day, while a 100-pound dog should drink roughly 100 fluid ounces in a day. However, there are other factors to consider.
A healthy diet is just as important as water intake, and the type of food your dog eats will determine how much water he or she needs. Dogs who eat only dry food will need more water than those eating wet food or a homemade diet. Your dog receives moisture from wet and homemade food since they contain 65-80 percent water. Some ingredients, such as sodium, can also increase your dog’s thirst, so be sure to check ingredients.
Exercise and the weather are two other factors that affect the amount of water your dog intakes. Just like humans need more water when exercising, dogs need water when going on excursions. And giving your dog ice cubes after exercising allows her to take in a little water at a time and avoid bloating. Depending on the weather, your dog may need more water. During hot summer months, your dog’s water intake most likely increases. And just as humans need more water when perspiring, your dog’s fluids need to be replaced when he or she pants or salivates while cooling her body.
Most dogs naturally monitor themselves and drink plenty of water so long as their bowl is cleaned and refilled daily. However, puppies sometimes need more monitoring than older dogs, and medications may require your dog to increase or decrease his or her water intake, so check with your vet to see if modifications are necessary. Unless your vet recommends it, though, there is no need to measure how much water your dog drinks. For most dogs, simply keeping the bowl fresh and filled is enough.
If you are concerned, there are ways to determine whether your dog is hydrated and healthy.
How to Check for Dehydration
- Gently pinch the skin between your dog’s shoulder blades.
- Then gently pull the skin up and release.
- Watch how the skin falls back into place.
If the skin quickly returns to its former position, your dog is hydrated. However, if the skin slowly returns or stays pulled up for a more extended time, your dog may be dehydrated. There are other warnings signs to consider:
- Gums are dry, pale, and sticky
- Eyeballs are dry and sunken
- Nose and mouth are dry
Drinking too much water and urinating too much can also be signs of an underlying medical condition. These conditions may include diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, and infection. Therefore, you must make an appointment with your veterinarian if you notice your dog drinking more than usual. A physical exam along with blood and urine tests will direct your vet in possible treatment for your dog.
Why Choose Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital?
Whether your dog drinks too much water or not enough, you can trust the advice of the respected doctors at Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital. When you visit our location for your pet care, you and your dog will be treated like family. If you are ready to get started, contact us today to schedule your appointment with one of our experienced and compassionate veterinarians!