Contributed by Angie Lewis, President of Alaska Animal Advocates
Water is a very vital nutrient for dogs, as it is for humans. It hydrates and cleanses our canine friends. Just as with humans, dogs are made up of 80% water. Water flushes toxins from the body, regulates a dog’s temperature, and helps with a dog’s sense of smell.
Unfortunately, many dog guardians neglect to properly hydrate their dogs. We should be providing a constant supply of water for our canine companions. This water should be placed in an appropriate sized bowl and be clean and germ free. If a bowl is too small or the level of water is too low, the concentration of germs becomes very high and unsafe.
Just how much water a dog needs depends on various factors such as the size and age of the dog, activity level, and what the weather is like. A good rule of thumb, is providing between 8.5 to 17 ounces per 10 pounds.
When a dog becomes dehydrated, his gums become sticky, or his eyes start to look dry. As dehydration progresses, skin pliability becomes compromised and the skin’s ability to slip back into place when pinched is lost. If you are concerned that your dog is either drinking too much or too little water, talk with your veterinarian.
A thirsty dog can be dealt with at home, by providing water, but a dehydrated dog will require the care of a veterinarian. On the other hand, dogs can over-drink, causing them to vomit or become lethargic.
Recommendations are as follows:
• Use an oversize bowl.
• Keep water bowl as clean as you do your own drinking glass – change water at least two times per day.
• Never restrict water from your dog.
• Carry fresh water with you when hiking or traveling.