15 Ways to Keep your Dog Hydrated through Summer
We may revel in the outdoors during the hot summer months, soaking up the rays socialising with friends and family and off course South Africa’s favourite pastime, braais and pool time.
Whilst we may love it, our four legged family members, on the other hand need extra attention to keep them hydrated, especially as we encounter freak heat waves, the consequence of changing weather patterns.
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 his body. It’s also the basis for most processes and chemical reactions that keep him healthy.
Digestion, circulation, waste filtering, and body temperature regulation are just a few of the internal processes driven by water. If your dog is dehydrated, they can suffer kidney and heart damage, as well as other problems.
Always ensure your dog has access to clean drinking water. A dog will need to drink about an 30ml of water for every 453 grams of weight daily, but may need more if they are active or exercised, the weather is warm, or they are taking medication that may dehydrate them.
A good-sized bowl with twice the amount that they need is always a good rule of thumb. For large dogs, bowl/bottle combinations that feed a steady supply into the bowl as your dog drinks it are a good investment.
If it seems your dog is not getting enough water daily, check for signs of dehydration. These can include lethargy, dry gums, and sunken, darkened eyes. Then, get your dog to the veterinarian ASAP. If they is dehydrated, the vet can hook them up to an IV to quickly rehydrate them and also check them over to find the source of the problem.
Problems and solutions
Giving your dog water may seem easy enough, but here are some potential problems that simple to avoid:
- Water bowls need cleaning daily. Bacteria can form on the rim and sides of the bowl that can quickly turn the water foul. Your dog may not want to drink from it, or worse, will drink from it and make them sick. Clean your dog’s water bowl each day with a dab of dish soap. If your dog uses a hanging water bottle on a crate or kennel, buy a bottle brush to give the inside a good scrub.
- Buy your dog a water bowl that he cannot knock over. A wide, weighted underside is best. If your dog has the run of the house, place water bowls in two or three places.
- Always ensure your dog’s water bowl is full throughout the day, especially on warm days or cold, dry days.
- Don’t buy a water bowl that is too big for your dog. They may only be able to drink water part way down. A properly sized bowl is essential. Tall, narrow bowls are good for dogs with long ears like Bassets and Spaniels. Keeping their ears out of the water can help prevent infections. If you leave your dog a bucket of water, be sure they can still drink when it gets low. Small dogs may fall into the bucket trying to get at the water. Rather use a water dispenser. which is helpful when you’re not at home, so you ensure your dog has ample access to clean water.
- Dogs shouldn’t be chained or tied and left alone. They can wrap these chains and wires around trees or posts, shortening the chain to the point that they can no longer reach their water.
- If you normally keep their beds in sunny areas, you can easily move to shaded areas or under patios and awnings. Use elevated or raised cot as a way to keep them cool and comfortable. During winter months, the elevated dog bed keeps your dog off the cold floor, and in summer months the bed allows air to circulate under your pet to keep them cool, unlike a traditional pillow bed. An elevated dog bed is ideal for all kinds of dogs! It regulates their temperature and keeps them cool instead being on tiled or paved areas, which absorb the sun’s heat.
- Consider using a cooling bed or a cooling mat as well. The bed is made from cool cotton material for extra durability and a cool mat and features a unique gel core that activates when your dog lies down, helping to reduce their body temperature and offer them relief to keep your pet cool on warm, summer days.
- 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 your dog faces if you let him do it. Put the lid down! Additionally I don’t think you will appreciate being licked after they drink from your toilet!
- 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. Check our range of portable water bottles you can use on walks or hikes.
- On long car trips, bring a couple gallons of water from home along to avoid digestive problems.
- You can also keep your dog cool by using cooling collars as well. Follow the instructions for each of these products to ensure optimal performance so your furbaby benefits.
- If you love making smoothies in the morning, you can make a little extra to share with your dog. Just make sure not to add any sugar, or other ingredients that are not safe for dogs. Dogs are typically lactose intolerant, but may be able to handle a small amount of yogurt; the probiotics are excellent for digestion. Green, leafy veggies like kale and spinach provide vitamins K, C and E, plus protein and calcium. Sweet fruits like strawberries, blueberries and apples are all good for dogs. Smoothies should be given in moderation, about 1 tablespoon per 2,25kg of body weight.
- You can add water to any type dog food: dry food or canned, or even homemade and commercial raw. You can soak dry food in water and keep it in your fridge for up to three days. Or rather use Woof and Brew non-alcoholic beer or Pawsecco over their food.
- Some dogs aren’t interested in water, but 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. A silicone ice tray can make perfectly portioned ice treats, like Cool Dog Ice Cream for dogs or Pawsecco Freeze Pops.
- Consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about providing water for your dog.
In the meantime a good, clean, plentiful supply of water will help your dog to be healthy and happy especially through the hot summer months. Always be cognisant of your dog and the water needs.