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Avoid Dog Dehydration

July is National Pet Hydration Awareness Month and with the temperatures reaching over 90⁰ F in many parts of the U.S. we wanted to discuss avoiding dog dehydration. Water is critical to a dog’s physiology, and can almost be thought of as the fourth macronutrient (along with protein, fat, and carbohydrates).

 

  

How much water should a dog drink?

On average, a dog should drink about 1 oz of water per pound of body weight per day. There are eight fluid ounces in one cup so the below table can be used directionally. For reference, common bottle water brands such as Poland Spring and Dasani typically hold 16.9 fluid oz of water per bottle. So, according to the table, a 15lb dog should be hydrating with about one bottle of water per day.

1 oz per 1 lb of body weight
Sample Water Intake for an Average Day
(Indoors with Moderate Exercise/Activity in Moderate Temperature)

Dog Weight

Daily Water Intake (fluid oz)

Daily Water Intake (cups)

15 lbs

15 oz

About 2 cups

30 lbs

30 oz

About 3.5 – 4 cups

45 lbs

45 oz

About 5.5 – 6 cups

60 lbs

60 oz

About 7.5 cups

75 lbs

75 oz

About 9 – 9.5 cups

90 lb

90 oz

About 11 – 11.5 lbs

105 lbs

105 oz

About 13 cups

 

NOTE: There are many instances where the above rule of thumb should be increased (sometimes exponentially), including adjustments for temperature, amount of physical activity, medications, diet, age, and more. For example, a dog who is on a dry food diet may drink more water than one on a wet, cooked, or raw diet where over 70% of the food includes moisture and water content. Working or highly active dogs, puppies, as well as dogs living in warm temperatures should also consumer much more than the average daily volume mentioned above. These are just some examples of when dog dehydration can occur more easily and how much water a dog should drink per day needs to be increased.

Signs of dehydration in dogs

The signs of dehydration in dogs are not too dissimilar from us as humans and may include some of the below although in speaking with our members, we’ve found the many of us pet parents have a general sense that our dogs are not fully hydrated on a regular basis (interesting fact: dogs sweat through their paws!):

  • Volume (and frequency) of pee as well as concentration (yellow color and strong odor)
  • Dry with little elasticity in skin
  • Dry nose and sunken eyes
  • Excessive panting or thick saliva
  • Reduced energy or lethargy versus normal
  • Diarrhea or vomiting 

5 Tips for Avoiding Dog Dehydration

  1. Provide fresh drinking water in clean bowl. If we wouldn’t want to drink stale water, why would our dog? Clean, fresh water in a clean bowl is key. We recommend stainless steel bowls as they are more sanitary and generally harbor fewer bacteria than their plastic or ceramic counterparts. You should wash your dog’s water bowl with hot, soapy water each day.
  2. Offer multiple water bowl options and locations! Our dogs are notoriously lazy sometimes and so having multiple access points to fresh clean water can be key to avoiding dog dehydration. In addition to a water bowl in their crates, our dogs have bowls in the kitchen and office room (thanks, COVID!).
  3. Rehydrate dry food by adding water directly to mealtime. Dry dog food is particularly convenient to store because it exactly that – dry! During the extrusion process of manufacturing kibble, water is removed from the ingredients even though it is a vital part of our dogs’ healthcare. Adding a few ounces of water directly into your dog’s food bowl will not only help to avoid dehydration, but it will also enable more optimal digestion and nutrient absorption as the food passes through your dog’s digestive tract.
  4. Add some fun, easy crunch! Some dogs love the cool crunch of ice cubes or chunks, especially in the hot, humid summer months. This is a effortless way to increase your dog’s hydration that could be new to them – and we know how much dogs love new things!
  5. DIY pup-sicles or frozen treats with bone broth or fresh food. If your dog is a treat fiend try freezing some of their favorite treats in bone broth or stock (no sodium!) in an ice cube tray. Other alternatives include pureeing and freezing fruit, veggie and other fresh foods! The options and ideas are really limitless here.

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