The Importance Of Water For Dog Nutrition

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dogwater1It is easy to overlook the importance of proper hydration when thinking about dog nutrition. Trust me, as an athlete who has found out the hard way, lack of proper hydration can lead to a myriad of problems including cramps, reduced mobility and function of joints and soft tissue components (tendons, muscles, etc.), and sub-optimal elimination function and associated stress on internal organs.

Like people, dogs also require proper hydration to function properly.  PetMd provides an excellent summary of the importance of water as part of an overall canine nutrition strategy.  You can read the article here: The Importance Of Water For Dog Nutrition – PetMD

The author provides some tips on hydration guidelines as well (shown below, italics are mine) and a few simple ways to check if your dog may be under-hydrated (alas, they can’t tell you they are thirsty).

 

As a rule of thumb, dogs should drink approximately one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. There are many factors that can affect how much your dog will drink, however. Depending on the environmental temperature and the amount of exercise your dog performs during the day, more water may be necessary. This is because water is lost due to excessive panting and salivation.To check your dog for dehydration, pick up a fold of loose skin over the top of the shoulder blades, pull it up gently and release it. Watch for the skin to fall back into place. Under normal circumstances, the skin should quickly return to place without any hesitation. If dehydration is present, the skin will slowly return or may even stay up for a time before falling back into place.

Another place to look for dehydration is in an dog’s mouth. If the gums appear dry, sticky or pale, this is a sign of illness and dehydration. Dehydrated pets will also have dry, sunken eye balls and a dry nose and mouth.

 

All dog owners and especially those that actively exercise their dogs should keep in mind the following tips:

– Keep your dog’s water bowl full with fresh, clean water.

– Check the water dish several times per day and note if you see that your dogs seems to be drinking a lot or a little relative to ‘normal’. If you do see signs of a change in thirst, check with your vet immediately.

– Bring an adequate supply of water for your dog when engaging in activities away from the home.  You can use a squeeze bottle which is convenient and provides a way to direct the water into your dog’s mouth.  This is much easier than carrying around a bowl 😉 .

– In warmer weather, plan on exercising your dog in the morning or evenings to avoid the hottest parts of the day.  If you must exercise your dog in the heat, it is crucial that they are provided water during and after the exercise as water will help them cool down.

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2 Comments

  1. It’s funny that I’m reading this today, because I was speaking to the owner of Troff about this subject yesterday.

    One thing I found is that on a 2 mile walk, our dogs are running to the water when we get home so I started bringing water with us; I hated grabbing a bottle – for three dogs, the bottle was huge and half the water landed on the ground. So it was cool to be introduced the the Troff hydration product – It fits in my bag easily and I don’t lose so much water.

    I read an article yesterday about how to cut back on vet bills and was surprised that exercise, nutrition, and hydration weren’t on the list.
    Kimberly, The Fur Mom recently posted…Friday Finds | Cool Pet Products for Dogs and Dog Lovers You’ll LoveMy Profile

  2. We hadn’t thought of squeeze bottles! Great idea! We spend a lot of time at the beach in the summer and have a hard time keeping the water sand-free – problem solved!
    Coralee and Finn recently posted…Help Wanted!My Profile

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