It goes without saying that drinking water is vital for our dogs and their wellbeing. It transports nutrients to their cells and flushes out the harmful toxins in their system. Water also keeps their organs in tiptop shape and acts as a lubricant for their joints. There are so many beneficial things that fall under the umbrella of water, but like everything else, too much of a good thing can be bad for your pooch. Knowing the right amount of water to serve your dog on a daily basis is vital information that allows you to keep your dog hydrated and happy all day long.
The question of how much water your dog needs per day can be answered by taking a closer look at his age, size, physical activity, weight and diet. In general, a healthy dog should drink around 50 to 60ml of water per kilogram of bodyweight. For example, if your pooch weighs 6 kilograms, then he needs to drink at least 360ml of water on a daily basis. In other words, his water consumption needs to be two and a half times the amount of food he eats per day.
The type of diet you feed your dog directly affects his water intake. Dog food that is rich in moisture such as canned food provides your pooch with a considerable amount of hydration so your pet may not drink as much from his dog water bowl. Dry food, however, does not have enough moisture content to satisfy your dog, so you will need to fill up that water bowl in order to compensate for the lack of moisture in his food.
Puppies need around 118 ml of water every couple of hours once they make the transition to solid foods. For example, if your puppy weighs 9 kilograms, then he will need between 300 to 500 ml of water on a daily basis. On the opposite end of the spectrum are senior dogs who are more prone to dehydration and whose kidney functions deteriorate with age. If your pooch belongs to this category, then you need to provide him with an easily accessible source of water such as an elevated dog water fountain. Fountains offer filtered water that will entice your picky pooch into drinking more, especially if he is on a dry kibble diet.
Giving your dog small water breaks is highly recommended if you take him out for a run down your favourite hiking trail or exercising at the dog park. The risk of dehydration is always present, especially during warm weather, so carrying a dog water bottle with you can be a lifesaver. In order to figure out if your pooch needs more water, all you have to do is pinch the skin on the back of his neck and let go. If his skin falls quickly into place then this means that your dog is hydrated, but if his skin remains stiff and has a wrinkled texture then you need to give him water as soon as possible.
Dogs are more prone to dehydration when the weather is hot and humid. Their bodies have a cooling mechanism of their own and that is why you see them panting instead of sweating bullets like us. Panting and salivating causes their bodies to lose water so doubling up on hydration is a good idea during the hot and unforgiving summer months. If you dog spends the majority of his time outdoors, then providing him with two water bowls is better than one.
Dogs who are sick and on medication often require more water than your average pooch and that is due to the side-effects that often accompany those drugs. Side-effects such as dry mouth, dehydration or excessive thirst can take their toll on your sick dog, so you may need to consult your vet about either increasing or decreasing his water intake depending on his symptoms.
Dehydration may be your biggest concern come summer, but overhydration also poses a threat to your beloved pooch. If your dog loves water just as much as he loves his favourite treat, then over drinking may occur. Drinking too much water can lead to something called hyponatremia or water intoxication which can mess with your dog’s bodily functions and lower the sodium levels in his system. Dogs who spend long periods of time swimming in lakes and pools are more at risk and so are those who drink too much water after exercising. As a rule of thumb, if your dog is drinking 80 to 100 ml per kilogram per day , then this puts him at risk of water intoxication. You can keep a close eye on your water loving pooch by making him drink from a dog water bottle so you can easily monitor how much he drinks during the day. Another solution would be to serve him water using a small dog water bowl so he does not go overboard with his drinking.
Not Drinking Enough Water
If your dog treats water like an afterthought and barely touches his water bowl, then this can open the door to dehydration. Luckily, you can offer incentives for your pooch in order to encourage him to drink his required daily dosage of water. Showering your pooch with praise and giving him treats whenever he goes to drink from the bowl is an excellent way to encourage this positive behaviour. In addition, you can add a small portion of low sodium chicken broth to his water bowl to make it more enticing for him or you can set up water stations around the house. Each station can offer a different water source for your pooch and you can even invest in a fancy water fountain if your dog turns out to be a big fan of running water. Another option is to add water to his dry food to make it moist and enhance its flavour. Cleanliness is also important when it comes to your dog and his water bowl, so do no forget to clean it every day and replenish it with clean water for your thirsty pooch.