As we head towards the hottest months of the year, we aim to raise awareness about the importance of hydration and the common misconceptions when it comes to signs of dehydration in pets, which could ultimately save your pet's life.
The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO revealed that Australia is encountering hotter, stronger and more frequent heatwaves than ever before, we urge pet owners not to forget to keep their furry friends fully hydrated.
We spend hours choosing a healthy diet and treats, and make sure we buy safe toys for our pooch, but did you know that water may be the most important step in keeping your dog healthy? Just like you, a dog’s body is around 80 percent water. This water is essential to help dissolve and carry substances throughout the body, it’s also the basis for most processes and chemical reactions that keep them healthy, digestion, circulation, waste filtering and body temperature regulation are just a few of the internal processes driven by water.
The quality of the water is also key, to provide proper hydration, pets should be taking on board clean, fresh water straight from the bowl, drinking from potentially dirty water sources can have the opposite effect on your pet’s health, so it’s important to monitor pet drinking habits at all times. Water bowls need cleaning daily, as bacteria can form on the rim and sides of the bowl and in Queensland we have the added problem of cane toads using the dog's water bowl to re-hydrate themselves at night time, both can turn the water foul quickly.
Buy your dog a water bowl that they can't knock over. A wide, weighted underside bowl is best, and make sure there is more than one water bowl left available for your fur kid, this way, if one is accidentally knocked over or emptied there is another water source available. If yours in not a big water drinker maybe some salt free frozen chicken stock or bone broth would encourage more consumption. Our Zoe loves cold water from the fridge on a hot day, which cools her down and if she is going to be left home some ice cubes or a large frozen block in her bowl keeps the water cold for a longer period of time.
The toilet bowl is not a water dish — despite the joy some dogs take in using it as one. Bacteria and deadly chemicals used to clean the toilet are just two of the dangers, keep the lid down.
Symptoms of dehydration include lethargy, sunken eyes, loss of appetite, depression, another tell-tale symptom is dry and sticky gums and a loss of moisture around the mouth. Small dogs have an increased risk of becoming dehydrated because they have a high body surface area-to-volume ratio.
If your dog is suffering, you can re-hydrate your little one with electrolyte supplements, give them some flavorless Pedialyte, which is made for children but is also suitable for dogs, or Gatorade (although Pedialyte has less salt), the dose is 1 tablespoon for every 5 kilos in weight every hour or two. Dehydration is a serious condition when it goes past a certain point, prompt veterinary intervention is needed.