All pets need a bit of extra care to encourage them to stay hydrated during the hot summer months, especially here in Durban.
Dogs and cats, just like humans need a regular water intake every day to make sure they stay healthy, as water regulates their temperature and aids digestion and waste removal.
Animals get a lot of their water from their food, which is why pet owners who feed mainly dry food need to be extra careful to always have full, fresh water bowls around.
Clean Water Bowls Daily
Water bowls need cleaning daily. Make it a habit to wash their water bowl every time you feed them their breakfast and/or dinner. You need to change the water anyway, so why not just take the bowl to the sink and give it a good wash, before your refill it?
Leaving your pet’s bowl unwashed for several days or weeks can contribute to bacteria growth, which can make your pet more finicky about their water and/or could make them sick.
Keeping your Dog Hydrated
Just like you, a dog’s body is around 70/80 percent water.
You know your own dog. It is a fact that some dogs just don’t drink enough water. And on hot days, or when your dog is playing, they may need extra water, so keep this in mind.
How many dogs do you have? Do they compete to use the water bowl? And even if you only have one dog, it may not drink enough water if there’s just one water bowl in your home. It is a good idea to keep a bowl outside, though you’ll have to remove outdoor debris daily and keep at least one other bowl inside in an accessible place. You can also keep water bowls in your living room, bedroom, and anywhere else your dog hangs out.
Tips and Tricks to Keep your Dog Hydrated
- Your dog’s water bowl should be larger than their food bowl. It should be large enough to hold much more water than they typically drink each day
- You can add water to any type dog food: kibble, canned, or even commercial raw food to ensure your dog’s water intake is good.
- Did you know, you can soak kibble in water and keep it in your fridge for up to three days?
- Some dogs don’t like drinking water very much but they love licking ice cubes. You can make iced treats by freezing blocks of water, or even mixing in a smoothie, low-sodium broth or other flavour additives before freezing
- On long walks or play times, take along a collapsible or portable water bowl and extra water. Dogs sweat through panting, which dries out their mouths.
- If you are travelling with the pooch, make sure you have bottled water and a dish on hand for regular drink break stops.
Keeping your Cat Hydrated
Unlike dogs, most cats are not big gulpers or slurpers at the water bowl. But, like dogs, cats need plenty of water daily to keep their coats shiny and their skin and organs well hydrated. In fact, like a dog, a cat’s body is made up of about 70/80 percent water.
Cats require approximately 50ml of water per kilogram of body weight a day. This means that a healthy cat weighing 4kg should drink about 200ml of water a day. If you feed your cat wet food only, it should be consuming enough daily fluids. Wet food contains approximately 80% moisture.
Tips and Tricks to Keep your Cat Hydrated
One of the easiest and most important ways to make sure your cat is drinking enough water is make sure she or he always has fresh, clean water available. Cats often like fresh water, so don’t just add water to a bowl in which the level has dropped. Take the bowl to a sink, give it a good wash and then fill it with fresh, cool water.
- Cats that eat canned food tend to take in less [water], because there’s already a lot of water in the food. Cats that eat dry food tend to drink more water.
- The good news is that there are several creative ways to encourage your cat to drink enough water so that she or he can stay healthy, as well as easy ways to identify dehydration early so your cat can get the right treatment before things get worse.
- Fussy felines develop strange water drinking habits. Some only drink water from running taps. A water fountain may be a good replacement for this.
- Occasionally adding a small amount of low-fat, low-sodium broth (chicken or beef) to your cat’s water bowl can tempt your cat to drink more water.
- If your cat enjoys cold water or is drawn to ice cubes, you can pour some of the diluted broth into an ice cube tray and freeze it. Simply toss a cube or two into your cat’s water bowl when you change the water.
Cats are curious by nature. In order to ensure you cat is properly hydrated, you can take advantage of this curiosity by offering water in different types of containers and in different locations throughout your home.
Left untreated, dehydration can cause serious health issues in cats and dogs. If you are concerned at all that your pet may be dehydrated, the best first step is to call your veterinarian immediately.