How can I prevent my dog from being dehydrated?

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A dog’s body is composed of 80 percent water. Water is essential for transporting nutrients and removing toxins. Any animal can become dehydrated in just hours and it’s a medical emergency that, left untreated, can result in death.

Here are some ways to help prevent it. It can’t be emphasized enough, however, that if you suspect a problem, consult a veterinarian immediately.

• Provide clean water at all times, and change it frequently to ensure freshness. Also, don’t forget to wash your pet’s water bowl every day to prevent bacteria from forming. It seems odd but, like humans, dogs can forget to drink, so remind her by keeping her water dish out where she’ll have to walk by it often.
Sometimes you can also increase interest by getting her one of those cascading water fountains; she might possibly become so fascinated with it that she’ll take a drink while she’s there. Drop an ice cube or two in the water; not only will it create an interesting ripple effect may will also cool the water.
• Monitor your dog’s water intake.
Generally, a dog needs at least one ounce of water for each pound of body weight per day. If your dog is not drinking an adequate amount of water, seek veterinary advice for some acceptable substitutes. Monitoring water intake is especially important if she’s recovering from diarrhea, vomiting or other illnesses.
• Purchase a water bowl with a weighted bottom to prevent your dog from knocking it over.
• Bring extra water when you’re traveling or exercising with your dog.
• Check her mouth for sores or other foreign objects, such as burrs or sticks if you notice she’s drinking less than usual.
• If your appetite is decreasing, check for signs of illness (other than the obvious ones like vomiting and/or diarrhea). If she seems well, she may simply be bored so try adding some excitement by using a food puzzle (a toy-like object with an opening where you “hide” the food.) You can fill the puzzle with canned food and freeze it. This will add some moisture to her diet.

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