How much water does my dog need to drink to stay hydrated each day?
Your dog is made up of about 70 percent water, and the importance of this substance cannot be emphasized enough. Water transports vitamins and nutrients to the cells; it removes toxins and regulates body temperature. Nearly all of the body’s major systems rely on water and, when there’s not enough, these systems shut down.
Your dog will lose water through urination, respiration and evaporation, so she should drink about eight ounces for every five pounds of weight. Of course, she’ll need to drink less or more depending on other factors such as activity, diet and age.
The biggest worry about canine water consumption is the danger of dehydration. That is a serious medical emergency that, make no mistake, can be fatal if not treated properly—and she won’t just lose water, but also electrolytes.
Dehydration comes on quickly. Just a loss of 10 percent can cause serious damage. It can be caused by a gastrointestinal problem, such as vomiting and diarrhea, a fever or heatstroke.
Even panting can do it and dogs pant a lot because that’s one way they cool their bodies. They don’t sweat like us, and anyone who’s ever wiped up after a panting dog knows just how much water is lost!
So the best protection is to know the signs of dehydration. They include:
• Lack of skin elasticity
• Dry, sticky gums
• Sunken eyes
• Too much or too little urination
• Delay in capillary refill time (the time it takes for your dog’s gum to return to its normal color after you press your finger against it)
If you see any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately. If your dog starts to drink more or less water than usual, note and report it to the vet. If she’s vomiting or has diarrhea, discuss dehydration concerns and ask your vet for possible substitutions during her illness.