Most dogs are hit or miss drinkers; many end up with more water on the floor than in their tummy. Did you know that over or under drinking can be a sign of a health problem? It’s a good idea to keep an eye on Fido’s water dish. Most people feel that if their pup is healthy, he will instinctively drink the correct amount of water he needs. However, that isn’t always true. Just like their people, some dogs are busy, bored, or just forget to hydrate. How much water should your dog drink?

Dog drinking water from a hoseOf course how much H2O your pooch needs depends on their size, diet, age, activity level, and the time of year. As a general rule, healthy dogs need about 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. It’s important to keep your dog hydrated because water helps them regulate body temperature, flush toxins, keep their metabolic process functioning, and actually helps their sniffing power!

Here are a few ways to gauge your pupper’s hydration. Do their eyes look dry? Try pulling up some skin on the top of their neck, does it snap right back in place or does it stay “tented” for a few seconds?  Check if their gums are sticky and dry (they should be moist and slippery). These are all signs that your dog is probably dehydrated.  Check how much they are drinking by measuring how many ounces they drink each day.

Over drinking can be a sign of diabetes, Cushing’s disease, or a fever. Too much water could lead to bloat, a deadly health issue. Under drinking can indicate pancreatitis, parvo, or a bladder infection. It’s a dynamite dog parent that keeps an eye on water consumption.

How do you help your dog drink the proper amount?  

Under Drinkers – Make sure there are a couple of water bowls available with clean, fresh water. When an under drinker does drink praise him and give him a treat. Up the flavor by mixing in low-sodium, chicken, beef, or bone broth with his water. If you have a dog that refuses to drink much (and you know they are not ill) start with pure low-sodium broth and over time dilute it with water. Add some water to their meals to get a little extra in them.

Over Drinkers – You could try a “lick and flow waterer” (like bunnies or gerbils use), that way you’ll know exactly how much water they drink. Additionally, it is a little harder for your pooch to access water from one of these devices, which will keep their water intake lower. Or, ration their water by measuring out the amount needed for the entire day and filling their bowl periodically. Just be sure to spread it out so you don’t give it to them all at once.

This summer keep both you and your pets hydrated, the health of the whole family depends on it!

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