While summer can create a number of challenges for Pelham pet owners, there is one considerable risk that many people seem to overlook - dehydration.
Dehydration occurs when your pet doesn't have enough water in their body for their cells to function properly and it can be a serious and potentially deadly issue. We tend to assume that our pets know to drink plenty of water during the summer months, but the reality is that unless you are paying close attention to what your pet is drinking, dehydration is a very real risk. Fortunately, it is a preventable one.
What to Do to Prevent Dehydration This Summer
Mercifully, there are plenty of things that you can do to help prevent your pet from becoming dehydrated this summer. Here are some of our top tips for keeping your furry friend properly hydrated and happy this summer.
Access to Water
It may sound obvious, but the hotter it is outside, the more access your pet needs to fresh, clean water. One water dish isn't enough, you should have them placed in various locations around your home and yard and check them regularly to make sure they aren't empty. Use ice cubes or a cooling mat to keep the water cooler for longer.
Take Water with You
You wouldn't want to go on a walk without a bottle of water and neither does your pet. If you take your pet with you when you leave the house, make sure that you take a water dish and a couple of bottles of water so that your furry friend can regularly drink.
Limit Exercise in Hot Temperatures
As much as it is tempting to get outside when the weather is warm, if it is too hot it could be dangerous for your pet to do any physical activity. Save walks and other exercises until the sun goes down or do it early in the morning before the temperatures begin to climb.
Encourage Your Pet to Drink
If your pet is thirsty, they may not need encouragement, but some animals, like kids, simply don't think to drink water. Make sure you offer water regularly and actively prompt your pet to drink.
Consider Offering Some Canned Food
While it isn't advisable to change your pet's diet entirely, canned foods contain around 80% more moisture than dry food and it is an easy way to get a little more liquid into your pet's body without them even realizing it!
How Much Water Does My Pet Need to Drink?
It can difficult to monitor your pet's fluid consumption, or even know exactly how much is the 'right' amount for your furbaby to be drinking. Although every animal is different, on average:
- A cat needs to drink between 3 and 6 ounces of water each day
- A dog will need to drink between 0.5 and 1 ounce of water per pound of their body weight
Symptoms of Pet Dehydration
As a responsible owner, one of the most valuable things that you can do for your pet this summer is to recognize the signs of dehydration. Whilst you will inevitably do everything that you can to prevent your pet from experiencing this dangerous condition, it is helpful to know the signs so that you can take steps to increase their water.
Some of the most common symptoms of dehydration in pets include the following:
- Extreme panting
- Sunken eyes that look dry
- A dry nose
- Dry, sticky gums
- Reduced energy levels and disinterest in what is happening around her
- Vomiting that may occur with or without diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Breathing problems
- Elevated heart rate
- Difficulty urinating or failure to urinate for more than 12 hours
If your pet experiences any of the symptoms listed above, it is important to contact our veterinarian right away. Dehydration can escalate very quickly, so you shouldn't delay in seeking help.
Need more information about pet dehydration? Concerned that your pet may be experiencing some symptoms and need advice or reassurance? Please contact our knowledgeable veterinary team at our animal hospital in Pelham, AL today by calling (205) 988-3559.