To help raise awareness about the importance of pet hydration, July has been declared National Pet Hydration Awareness Month. There’s so much information in the media encouraging us to drink enough water every day, but we rarely see similar messaging geared towards pets.
What many pet parents don’t consider is that proper hydration is as important for their pets as it is for themselves – in fact, pets’ bodies are made of 80% water compared to humans' 60%. With July being one of the hottest months of the year, it’s the perfect time to assess your pet’s daily hydration.
Dogs and cats need one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day but unfortunately, this isn’t always met, especially during the hotter months. This puts many pets at risk of becoming dehydrated, which can be life-threatening.
The signs of dehydration are similar in both cats and dogs and include:
Serious cases of dehydration can result in death, so it’s important that you’re aware of the warning signs. Depending on the severity, you may need to take them to the vet for treatment.
The easiest way to increase your pet’s daily water intake is to make the switch to fresh food which has a higher moisture content. This is especially the case for cat food, which is important because many cats don’t drink enough water and need to have it supplemented in their food. Based on an analysis we completed, dry kibble typically has a moisture content of around 10%, whereas Freshpet has a moisture content of 72%. Just by making this one switch, your pet will get a significant boost in their daily water intake.
No matter where your pet is, they should be able to easily access fresh, clean water. This is especially important for pets who spend time both indoors and outdoors – you’ll want to make sure that there is a water station ready for use in both locations.
Another thing to take into consideration is where the water is located. Cats, in particular, can be fussy about where their water is placed, as they instinctively won’t drink water that is near their food or litter box areas. Try finding a spot that is away from direct sunlight – especially if it’s outside – but is still conveniently located in the area where your pet spends most of their time.
What comes as a surprise to many pet parents is the fact that water bowls are not a one-size-fits-all item. When choosing a bowl, consider the location of the water and the temperature of the area. If your pet will be spending a lot of time outdoors in warm weather, you may want to choose a “bowl” like this outdoor sprinkler that can connect it to an outdoor tap, giving your pet fresh water on demand.
A second thing to consider is the design of the bowl. Cats are notoriously picky when it comes to water bowls, often preferring fountains that offer freely flowing water rather than a traditional bowl. These fountains come in a range of designs – including larger sizes for dogs – so it’s easy to find one that suits the needs of your pet and their environment.
You can also swap their regular treats for homemade water-based ones on hot days. All you need is a silicone tray, a selection of pet-safe fruits and veggies, or their favorite Freshpet treats. Start by dicing the fruit, veggies, or treats into bite-sized pieces and place them in the mold, then fill it with water and pop it in the freezer. In a few hours, you have some tasty treats that will help to boost your pet's hydration levels!
If you have further questions about how you can make sure your pet is maintaining the proper hydration levels, speak to your veterinary team. They’ll be happy to help you find further changes you can make to increase your pet’s water intake.