Hounding You About Hydration

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The amount of water a dog needs each day is affected by its age, size, activity level, and also, not surprisingly, the weather. As a rule of thumb, a dog needs about one ounce of water for each pound of its body weight. A healthy dog will drink as much water as it needs everyday. The only things you need to look out for are signs of change or dehydration. If your dog is drinking a lot more than usual without an accompanying change in activity or weather, see a vet. The same goes if your dog won’t drink at all. One way to check if your dog is dehydrated is to pinch the skin on the back of its neck. The skin of a properly hydrated dog will return to normal. A dehydrated dog’s skin will stay in the pinched shape.

Here are some tips for making sure your dog gets enough water:

Start with the basics. Clean your dog’s water bowl every day. You may not think of it, because a water bowl doesn’t get smelly, but it makes a big difference! I dumped out water that had been sitting out overnight, washed the bowl, and refilled it with clean water, and my dog immediately started drinking! Fill the clean bowl with fresh, cool water in the morning and refill it throughout the day.

Put the bowl somewhere out of the sun, so that the water doesn’t heat up excessively. Choose a location that is easy for your dog to access and where you will see it and be reminded to keep it filled throughout the day.

Make sure you’re getting enough water yourself! I find that when I get a drink, my dog wants one too. Be the alpha dog and lead by example. Keeping yourself hydrated can keep your dog hydrated, too. Just don’t share any “flavored water” made for humans with your canine companion. Flavored water can have additives that are not safe for dogs.

Every time you take your dog out, especially when it’s hot, bring some water with you. Take a water bottle and a portable bowl with you to the park so you can cool off and rehydrate while you’re playing. If you don’t have a bowl, cupping your palm will do in a pinch. You’ll have your dog literally drinking out of your hands. If you notice your dog getting thirsty or overheated on walks, add a water stop to your routine.

With all of these precautions taken, is it possible that your dog is still not getting enough water? Yes, absolutely. As with people, there are some dogs that simply aren’t fond of plain water. Never fear! These dogs may enjoy the crunch of ice cubes, instead. If standard H2O-based ice cubes don’t happen to excite your dog, try freezing broth into cubes — just make sure it’s crunching them someplace where you can easily clean up any melted leftovers.

Fruits and vegetables, frozen or not, are also great sources of water. Remove the seeds and cut them into bite-sized pieces before feeding them to your dog. Good hydration sources include the following fruits: apples, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, mangos, oranges, pears, pineapple, pumpkin, raspberries, strawberries, sweet potatoes, and watermelon; and these vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, green beans, lettuce, and squash.

Hey, wait! Is that a list of fruit and vegetable water sources or a list of cookie ingredients? Hmmm. This is giving me some inspirations. Excuse me while I run off to the My Doggy test kitchens!

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