Keeping your dog hydrated during a heatwave

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heatwave tips

With much of the UK facing a heatwave this week, keeping pets hydrated is of the utmost importance. Here are some tips to ensure your dog doesn’t go thirsty through the heat…

How much water should my dog drink in a day?

As humans, we know how important it is to drink eight pints of water per day in order to stay healthy and keep our bodies functioning normally, but how much should our dogs be drinking?

Whilst we’re pretty quick to recognise when we start to feel thirsty and can typically spot the symptoms of dehydration in others, unfortunately it’s not as easy with our four-legged friends. As much as we wish they could speak, we can’t simply ask them if they’ve had enough water that day, so as owners it’s important we pay close attention to their water intake and make sure they’re not drinking too little (or too much!).

Older dogs or those that are unwell may also need more water than average due to any medication they’re on

How much water does my dog need a day?

Typically, the general rule is between 30ml-50ml of water per kilogram of body weight. For example, a healthy Labrador weighing 30kg would need between 900ml and 1,500ml of water per day to stay hydrated. This allows their bodies to function properly, from organ function and nutrient transportation to circulation and digestion.

The amount of water your pooch needs can vary depending on their size, age, activity level and even the time of year! In warmer weather, it’s important to top up their water bowls more than usual and to keep them in the shade – try to time their walks at the start or end of the day, avoiding the midday sun. If your dog eats dry food or gets lots of exercise, it’s likely they’ll need more water than those who eat wet dog food and go on shorter walks, so be sure to top up their water bowls accordingly.

Older dogs or those that are unwell may also need more water than average due to any medication they’re on; your vet will be able to advise you on this and let you know how much water to give them each day.

Symptoms of dehydration

It’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s water intake so you can spot the signs of dehydration more easily, as it can be life-threatening in some cases. Symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive panting
  • Dry nose
  • Dry and pale gums
  • Thick and pasty saliva
  • Low energy
  • Loss of skin elasticity – the scruff of their neck may take longer to settle if lifted away from their back

If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately.

“Drinking excessively, known as polydipsia, may be normal over a short period of time – for instance, if the weather is hot or your dog has been very excited or exercised intensely”

How can you keep your dog hydrated?

  • Keep their water bowl clean and topped up with fresh water, more so in the summer months and after exercise
  • If you’re out on an adventure, whether it’s a long walk or even a road trip, be sure to take clean water with you so your pooch can stay hydrated throughout the day – there are lots of great travel-friendly water bowl options available online
  • Add wet food into their diet –  explore all the wet dog food options we offer to help increase your dog’s total water consumption. Carefully formulated to provide wholesome nutrition for your four-legged friend, our dog food contains no artificial colours or flavours, no dairy, no soya and no added wheat – we use natural ingredients that are tail-waggingly good!

 Can my dog drink too much water? 

Harringtons Advanced Science Diet vet, Peter Wright, says, “Drinking excessively, known as polydipsia, may be normal over a short period of time – for instance, if the weather is hot or your dog has been very excited or exercised intensely, causing loss of water due to excessive panting.

“Increased thirst can also be seen in several conditions found in dogs. For instance, Cushing’s disease. Diabetes cases also drink very excessively, with dogs often hanging around their water bowl. It is caused by their body not producing enough insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels.”

dog thirsty in hot weather

When female dogs are extremely thirsty, it may be due to a pyometra – an infection where the womb fills up with pus and toxins. This can lead to the bitch drinking excessively and is a serious condition that can often be life-threatening and something that vets would look out for in a dog, particularly after they’ve just had a season.

“Dogs also, particularly as they age, can suffer from chronic renal failure. Such dogs’ kidneys fail to concentrate urine, so instead, they pass large quantities of dilute urine and have to consume larger quantities of water to avoid dehydration.

“Finally, dogs can drink too much sometimes because of their medication. For example, dogs will sometimes be prescribed steroids by your veterinary surgeon, and these can make dogs drink more. It’s worth checking in with your vet if you think this could be the case.”

This is a guest post by Harringtons. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

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