As we enter the summer month of July (and finally get some warm weather!) we must remember and bring our attention to National Pet Hydration awareness month. As animal lovers, we care for the wellbeing and health of our pets and hydration is extremely important for your pets.
Importance of hydration
Just like us humans your animals need water to regulate their body temperature and keep them cool. In many cases animals are made up of as much water as humans, for example, dogs are made up of nearly 80% water. Overall, you will find that there are many health benefits for your animals with the right amount of hydration.
These include such things as:
• Helping to prevent infection and disease
• Increasing energy levels
• Blood circulation
• Processing food
• Improving recovery time from sickness.
Largely, hydration is a key factor in your pet’s health.
When it comes to the appropriate levels of hydration you will find that our pets need 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight and sadly, most pets don’t get enough water – especially during extreme temperatures. Other factors do play a role in the appropriate levels of hydration such as the amount of exercise your pet performs and the overall size of your pet. For example, you will find that if you have a larger animal, they will require more water due to their size. However, if you make sure your animals have consistent access to water, they should keep themselves hydrated.
Creative ways to hydrate your pets
The most important thing is that your animals are getting the right amount of hydration, but if you want to give it a little twist and have some fun why not try these ideas!
Make your own ice pops
You will find that most pets – cats, dogs, and horses especially – love licking ice cubes so you can have some fun by creating your own. Simply add your pets favourite healthy snack, like fresh fruits and veggies, or try the scrummy treats from We Love Nutrition, to some water before freezing in an ice tray. Then sit back, relax, and watch your furry friend have fun as they try to get to that frozen treat!
These are a fun way to encourage your pets to drink more as in most cases pets find flowing water much more appealing. Cats, in particular, enjoy drinking from running sources of water and may be more likely to drink more water this way. You can purchase a fountain or just make one yourself! This simple method is great fun for you and your pet.
Keep several bowls about
Finally, having multiple water bowls around your home will mean that your pet will have access to multiple sources of water and your pet will enjoy being able to explore and find these sources all around your home.
Signs of dehydration
Dehydration can be very serious in animals, so it’s important to always be on the lookout for any signs of dehydration in your pets, these include:
• Loss of skin elasticity
• Loss of appetite
• Reduce energy levels
• Sunken, dry-looking eyes
• Dry nose
• Dry, sticky gums
• Thick saliva
It is extremely important to stay on top of this during the summer months of June through to September as these are the hottest months of the year, and the extreme heat will influence your pet’s hydration. During these months you should limit exercise and make sure that any exercise is done in the cooler early mornings or evenings. If you have a dog walker, you can ask them to adjust their walking schedule so that they walk your dogs during these cooler times in the day. Heatstroke is one of the negative effects that can arise from dehydration, and it has the potential to really harm your pet.
Some signs of heatstroke are:
• Heavy panting
• Rapid heartbeat
• Deep red-purple tongue
• Signs of unconsciousness
If you ever find your pet may be suffering from dehydration or heat stroke, it is important to get them to the vets as they will be able to provide the right service to help your pet back to its healthy self.