How to Keep Your Dog Hydrated

June  09, 2023

June 21st marks the official first day of summer, and with it comes the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with your furry friend! Make sure you keep their hydration in mind while participating in all of your favorite physical activities together, as it is essential to their health. Keep reading to discover the five best practices for keeping your furry friend hydrated all summer long!

Pet-Friendly Outdoor Activities

There are many different fun and intense activities that you and your dog can partake in this summer. Some of our favorites are:

Swimming: Many dogs enjoy swimming, and it is great exercise for them. In addition, swimming is beneficial to their health because it helps to strengthen their joints, relieves stress, and works every major muscle in their body.

Hiking: Going hiking with your pup is a great way to bond while exercising. Similarly, hiking helps with their weight management, helps to build their conditioning, and provides them with mental stimulation by allowing them to engage in new sights and smells.

Running: Your furry friend can be a great running companion, depending on their size and breed. Running is great for your dog’s health because it helps them with weight management, muscle building, releasing excessive energy, and it can even enhance their mood.

Playing Fetch: Last but not least, playing fetch in your backyard is a great way for your four-legged friend to exercise. Similarly, it is also a great bonding activity for the two of you.

How Much Water Does Your Dog Need to Stay Hydrated?

How much water your four-legged friend needs to stay hydrated depends on their size. The general rule of hydration for dogs is that they should consume 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. For instance, if you have a 10 pound Shichon, then they need to have 10 ounces of water per day. On the other hand, if you have a 180 pound great dane, they need to consume approximately 180 ounces of water or 1.4 gallons of water!

Signs of Dehydration in Your Dog

Like with humans, dehydration is a serious problem for pets! Luckily, there are many symptoms that your dog is dehydrated to look out for.

The most obvious sign that your pup lacks water is that they are panting excessively. As commonly known, dogs don’t sweat, but rather they pant. The scientific reason a dog will pant is because they are trying to cool down their air passages with moisture from their tongue and nasal passages that evaporate over moist tissue.

Likewise, if you notice that they have little energy, dry gums, dry nose, and/or thick saliva, they are most likely experiencing the effect of dehydration. Simply encouraging them to drink water should help them recover. You can encourage them to drink by having multiple water bowls placed throughout your home, dumping out old water and replacing it with fresh water, or by adding flavor (chicken broth or goat milk) to the water.

It is best to bring your dog to the vet to prevent the situation from becoming more severe the moment you notice these symptoms lingering. A tool you can use to feel empowered to bring your four-legged friend to the vet is dog insurance. Insurance can help cover the cost of medical procedures needed to rehydrate your pup. Conversely, waiting to bring your pup to the vet because of dehydration can lead to a loss of skin elasticity, loss of appetite, vomiting, or passing out. These symptoms are likely a serious health emergency that can lead to organ suffering and even kidney failure. It’s best to avoid this situation happening by preparing them before it reaches this point.

How to Keep Your Furry Friend Hydrated

Taking a proactive approach to hydration is the best way to ensure your pet enjoys summer exercise activities while staying healthy. There are several things you can do to ensure they are ready to make a splash in summer!

Follow the General Rule of Hydration: As noted above, your pet should have an ounce of water for every pound of weight. You should increase this ratio when it is really warm outside or when they will be exercising a lot.

Feed Them Nutrient-Rich Foods: In the same way you would have tasty and effective energy chews before exerting a lot of energy, your pup needs to have high-energy and hydrating foods. Seedless watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumbers are great choices for your pup that have a lot of water content and will provide an energy boost before a workout.

Limit Outdoor Activity: You know your pet the best, so you know how much outside physical activity is too much. In general, when it is between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, small dogs should be engaging in any intense sport or activity for no more than 15 minutes at a time without a break. Larger dogs can go for a little while longer in the heat, but they should not partake in any more than 30 minutes of intense activity outside when it is above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hydrate on the Go: Simply having a water bowl at your home is not enough. You should keep a pet-water bottle with you when you are hiking, swimming, running, etc. for your best friend. Taking periodic breaks to hydrate will do wonders for both of you. Along with a pet-water bottle, keeping ice packs on standby is a great idea in case your four-legged friend starts to overheat.
It is important to note that you should never put the ice pack directly on your pup as they could potentially get an ice burn. Rather, you should wrap it in cloth. You can apply the ice pack to their head, neck, or groin, but you should only apply it for only a few minutes. You should stop applying the ice pack if you notice that your dog becomes uncomfortable at any time.

Your pet should not be the only one taking hydration breaks while enjoying outdoor activities. After all, the last thing you would want is for you to be in desperate need of hydration when exercising with your dog. Make sure you properly plan your own hydration mix for before, during, and after your workout, along with your dog’s plan.

The summer brings along many great opportunities to engage in all kinds of physical activities that you and your pet will love and bond over! Remember, you can’t beat the heat, but you can certainly help your pup stay hydrated all summer long by following the tips above!

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