Is Your Dog Properly Hydrated?

Dogs are great communicators. A dog will let you know when they’re hungry and are looking for you to fill their bowl. But their ability to communicate has its limits. Apart from a dog following you around holding their water bowl in their mouth — or pointing directly at the faucet­­ — a dog can’t fully indicate when they are thirsty. 

With this summer being one of the hottest on record, now is a good time revisit the importance of keeping our dogs hydrated.

What to know about H₂O

As you may recall from biology class, water brings vital nutrients to the cells of all living creatures. Water’s cooling effect also helps to maintain a normal body temperature and cushions joints and internal tissues. Although dogs don’t sweat, they expel water when they pant. Waste is also removed from the body via water. It’s safe to say, every important body function requires water. A lack of sufficient water for any creature spells trouble in the forms of heatstroke and even organ failure.

Doggy hydration

Proper hydration has everything to do with making sure your dog gets enough water for their body to function properly. Here are useful tips to ensure just that your pup is getting enough liquids to stay hydrated:

  • Always have a fresh bowl of water for your dog, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Check the bowl often, because a dog can lap water fast or knock the bowl over. Water can also get warm and dirty quickly. Dogs can be very discerning when it comes to fresh water.
  • Consider using a water fountain to circulate water and keep it fresh. 
  • Add ice cubes to your dog’s water bowl. Dogs appreciate refreshing, cold water just as much as people do!
  • If you’re on the move, always carry a bottle fresh water just for your dog and regularly offer them a chance to drink it.
  • Be sure to give your dog small amounts of water every 15-20 minutes when exercising – as large volumes of water before or after exercise can cause discomfort and sometimes makes dogs feel ill.

Doggy dehydration

It’s important to know the warning signs of dehydration in dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, signs of dehydration are:

  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting with or without diarrhea
  • Reduced energy levels and lethargy
  • Panting
  • Sunken, dry-looking eyes
  • Dry nose
  • Dry, sticky gums
  • Thick saliva

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, make sure to give them water immediately. And a note that sometimes dehydration is a symptom of a larger problem. If your dog seems to get dehydrated too often despite consuming enough water, make sure to see your veterinarian as soon as possible.