It might not occur to some pet owners to question whether or not a pet meets their daily water requirements. If you are constantly washing out their water bowl and they seem to be going to the bathroom at regular intervals, you probably do not give any more thoughts to their water needs.
Having an understanding of your pet’s water needs is crucial to ensuring complete health and wellness, however. Too much water consumption could spell trouble, while not drinking enough leads to dehydration. We’re here to offer you some help in determining your pet’s water needs.
Without a doubt, pets are driven to drink water when they feel thirsty. How much they consume everyday depends on their size, age, activity level, and health. Generally speaking, a dog needs about one ounce of water per pound of body weight. Cats benefit from 3.5-4.5 ounces of water per five pounds of body weight.
We recommend leaving clean, full water bowls in a few different places around the house and in the backyard. Always allow for free access throughout the day, and refill as needed. You could measure how much you’re filling and compare it to how much is left at the end of the day to truly know your pet’s intake.
A Look at Food
Dry kibble obviously has little-to-no moisture in it. On the other hand, wet, canned food can contain up to 80 percent moisture. The result is that a pet eating canned food might visit their water bowl less often than a strictly kibble-fed pet. Alternately, a pet that eats only dry, crunchy food might appear more thirsty to keep the balance.
Dehydration in pets is a serious concern and must be prevented at all costs. If your pet has dry or tacky gums, rapid breathing, appetite loss, sunken eyes, and excessive panting, they should be seen by the veterinarian immediately.
Our pets cannot always efficiently maintain or regulate their body temperature. As temperatures rise in the summer months, it becomes even more important to keep them cool and hydrated. Ensuring heat safety is largely dependent upon their daily water consumption.
For more Wheaton veterinary advice, check out our previous blogs about summer safety, and DIY frozen pet treats to boost their water intake.
Drinking Too Much Water?
There are numerous diseases and health conditions that cause a pet to become over-thirsty, and lead to increased urination. Diagnostics can help us get to the bottom of overdrinking, and may result in the treatment of the following potential illnesses:
- Urinary tract infections
- Cushing’s disease
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
Please let the team at Wheaton Animal Hospital know if your pet drinks more than what was previously normal for them. Do not restrict their access to water, as limiting their water intake may actually make symptoms worse.
Go-To Wheaton Veterinary Advice
Some pets are just picky about how they get their water, and even what it tastes like. To address this, pet owners may find success with the following:
- Flowing water fountains
- Filtered water
- Clean water bowls every time you refill them (nobody likes a slimy bowl!)
- Various drinking stations around the house
- Easy access (some aging pets may have shifting needs related to their mobility and comfort)
- Mix a little low-sodium chicken broth in the water bowl to attract them to it
- Crushed ice in the bowl for an added bonus
Every pet is unique and has individual needs. If you need additional veterinary advice, the team at Wheaton Animal Hospital are always here for you at (630) 665-1500.