When you fill your dog’s water bowl each morning, do you stop to consider if your dog will drink too much, too little or just the right amount each day?
As with all living creatures, it is essential for dogs to drink a healthy amount of water everyday, and taking the time to monitor their intake not only ensures proper hydration, but can also improve their overall health and prevent a wide variety of illnesses.
How Exactly Does Water Benefit Dogs?
Water benefits dogs in a countless number of ways. The main role of water is to carry and transport the nutrients that they consume into and out of their cells. In addition, it also aides in the digestive process and helps their body to absorb key nutrients. Another benefit of keeping your dog properly hydrated is that the water works to maintain a regulated body temperature.
Water plays a major role in the bone health of your dog, by providing a ‘cushion’ to their joints- which in turn makes it much easier for them to move freely. Other internal tissues, as well as the spinal cord, are also cushioned by water. All in all, every vital body function that takes place in your dog’s body requires adequate amounts of water in order to operate at optimum efficiency.
How Much Water Should Your Dog Drink a Day?
A general rule of thumb is that a healthy dog should be consuming at least 1 ounce of water per each pound that they weigh. For example, a dog who weighs 15-pounds should be drinking at least 15 ounces of water each and every day – approximately two cups.
The type of food that they eat also determines how much would they should be drinking. A dog who eats dry food will likely need to drink more water than those who eat canned- where water is often added as an ingredient.
When the weather starts to warm up, you will begin to notice that your dog is panting a lot more – this means that you need to start increasing how much water he consumes.
Exercise is another situation where you need to make sure that your dog is drinking more water than usual. Pet stores offer a variety of portable dog bowls that work great for this purpose, allowing you to take water for him to drink during a run outside.
For puppies, the rules are slightly different and they should be drinking about ½ cup of water every two hours to help promote healthy growth and development.
If your dog is nursing, pregnant or suffering from some form of illness, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to provide you with an exact amount of water that your dog should be drinking.
Is My Dog Drinking Enough?
It is common for dogs to not drink as much water as they should, especially whilst they are still at a young age. You can check your dog for signs of dehydration by simply observing the colour and texture of your dog’s gums. Dogs who are dehydrated will have gums that are sticky and dull in color. On the other hand, the gums of a properly hydrated dog will be slippery and wet.
If you have reason to believe that your dog is not drinking enough, there are several techniques that you can use to encourage him to drink more water. One of the easiest ways is to praise him and give him a treat when they go for a drink. Another option would be to enhance the flavor of their water to make it more tempting- by using chicken, beef or beef stock, for example. Lastly, be sure to keep their water bowl as close as possible to spots where they tend to relax most often, such as their bed, or keep a second bowl full of water at their favorite outdoor spot.
Is My Dog Drinking Too Much?
There are many cases where dogs drink too much. This can often be due to anxiety, depression or boredom when they are left alone.
Signs that your dog is over-hydrating themselves include confused or lethargic behavior and vomiting. An effective way to slow down your pup’s drinking is with an automated water bowl. These are similar to automatic feeders and can be placed on a timer, allowing you to release specific amounts of water at different times throughout the day. By doing this, you will be successfully keep them from excessive water consumption whilst still ensuring they remain properly hydrated.
To control how much water your dog consumes at night while everyone is sleeping, do not leave out a full bowl of water. Instead, try using a rabbit water feeder. It may sound strange, but this can be very effective. You could attempt to attach it to their crate or secure it to the wall. In extreme cases, you may also experiment with this method during certain times of day, however it will never be a suitable alternative to a proper water bowl.
Maintaining a Routine
If your dog drinks too much or too little, or if you simply want them to have healthy drinking habits, the best thing that you can do for them is to create and maintain a specific routine. To do so, make a solid effort to refill their bowl at the same time each day. You should always fill the bowl to the same level as well.
Sticking with the routine that you set in place and remaining consistent will make it much easier for you to keep track of how much water your dog is drinking on a daily basis.
No matter what the circumstances may be, you should never deprive your dog of water. If you become worried that they are not drinking enough, or if they are drinking too much, please do not hesitate to call your veterinarian for a thorough diagnosis.