Water is critical to all life, and it plays a vital role in keeping your dog healthy. It helps aid their digestion, waste elimination (aka peeing and pooping), supports cognition, maintains blood pressure, and delivers nutrients throughout their body.
A dog’s body weight is made up of 60–70% water, making it both the most essential and abundant nutrient in our dogs!
Access to sufficient water and food is the second need of the Five Animal Welfare Needs according to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA). The official recommendation says, “sufficient fresh, clean drinking water must be available always for all animals requiring it.” You can learn more about meeting your animal’s needs here.
Impacts on your dog’s needs
Just like humans, dogs need to maintain healthy levels of hydration. There are conditions that may cause a decrease in water intake, like pain and infections; diseases that cause an increase in water intake, like diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease, and liver and kidney diseases; there are even diseases that affect the body’s ability to control an appropriate thirst response (like when you eat too many chips but can’t realize you’re thirsty), such as diabetes insipidus.
Of course, just their daily lives may impact how much water they need. Activities like exercising and jogging require increased water intake, both for you and your dog. Environmental conditions such as excessive heat may also require increased water intake to compensate for the ongoing water loss. Vomiting and diarrhea may also cause water loss.
Adequate hydration is vital to keeping your dog healthy and happy. Water loss primarily happens through peeing, and to a lesser extent through their poop. Another common way they lose water is from panting. So as cute as it may look to see that tongue wagging, it may mean they need some water.
Here are some signs your dog may be dehydrated:
So how much water does my dog need?
The easiest way to estimate the water intake is according to body weight. Most dogs will drink about 1 ounce/pound/day.
How to keep your dog hydrated
Dogs get their water intake primarily from their diet and from drinking water. The good news is that dogs (and cats) have the ability to adjust their water intake based on the water content of their diet. Here are some tips to making sure your dog gets enough water this summer, and every season:
Keeping your dog hydrated is important during the summer, but also all year round. Making sure your pup has enough water and moisture in their diets will help keep them healthy and happy!
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