Water is just as important to your dog as a balanced diet. It is the main component of the cells in the body and a lack of water results in dehydration which is extremely dangerous.
Typical signs of dehydration are;
Loss of skin elasticity – pinch the skin on your dogs neck and let go. It should spring back immediately. If it does not then your dog could be dehydrated.
Loss of appetite
Vomiting with or without diarrhea
Reduced energy levels and lethargy
What part does water play?
In effect, every important function of the body needs water, which is why dehyration is so dangerous. Water plays a part in all these functions in the body;
- moves essential nutrients into and out of the cells of the body.
- helps with digestion of food and also with the absorbtion of certain nutrients.
- works to maintain a normal body temperature and helps to cool down the body.
- lubricates and cushions joints making movement easier.
- The spinal cord and other internal tissues are also cushioned by moisture.
- removes waste products by urination and bowel movements. Water is essential for both of these elimination functions.
Without sufficient water, organs such as the liver and kidneys can quickly become permanently damaged which will result in death.
How much water should my dog drink?
As a rule of thumb a dog should drink about 29g of water for each 455g of body weight each day. Put another way, this would be 1-2ml per kg of body weight per hour. So a 10Kg dog like a Westie should be drinking about half a litre of water per day.
There are of course actually many external factors that will affect how much your dog should drink. Factors like the weather, the amount of excercise the dog is doing and the type of food it is eating will alter the amount of water your dog will require. Feeding tinned or dried food will affect the amount of water your dog will need because tinned food already contains a significant amount of water compared to dry food.
Why is my dog dehydrated?
A healthy dog who has access to water at all times, will usually drink enough water to stay hydrated. Dogs who are suffering from illnesses such as kidney disease, diabetes or cancer however, are at risk of becomming dehydrated as are pregnant or nursing bitches because they need much larger quantities of water.
There are various reasons your dog may refuse to drink. It may be a sign of an underlying illness such as heat stroke or a fever. Or it may be that they are simply feeling nauseous, lethargic, or are in pain. Dogs can also dehydrate if they lose a lot of fluid through vomiting, diarrhoea and or panting. Dehydration can also be caused by your pet passing urine more frequently and in larger volumes than normal
If you have any concerns about your dog drinking too much or too little water or if you suspect that they are showing signs of dehydration it is important to get your dog checked by a vet as soon as possible.
How Can The Woof Club Help You?
We hope that we’ve provided you with an informative guide to this frequently asked doggy question and how to deal with any concerns. We would love to hear your comments! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us by submitting a form online or sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Why not also check out our guide to a common doggy problem The Facts about Giardia in Dogs – The Woof Club