Water is an essential nutrient for all living things. It helps regulate body temperature, lubricates and protects internal organs and joints, moisturizes the air in the lungs, helps eliminate waste from the body, supports nervous system function and transports oxygen and nutrients in the bloodstream to cells.
So how much do our furry companions need to stay healthy and prevent dehydration?
How much water is enough water?
The rule of thumb is to check with your veterinarian about your animal’s specific nutritional needs. A suggested general guideline on water intake for dogs is 60-80 ml of water per kilogram of body weight. For example, if your dog weighs 5 lbs, he or she should drink 300-400 ml of water in a 24-hour period. For cats, it is suggested that they drink 40-60 ml per kg of weight. So, a 4.5 lb cat should drink 180-270 ml.
There are circumstances that could alter your furry companion’s water requirements. Animal companions that eat canned foods don’t need as much water as those that eat dry food. Hot weather, activity level, illness and stage of life can also impact your fur baby’s water requirements.
How to know if your furry friend is dehydrated
Signs of dehydration in your cat or dog could include:
- Dry nose or mouth
- Gums are dry, sticky or pale
- Loss of skin elasticity (the skin turgor test)
- Dry, sunken eyes
- Reduced appetite
Getting more water
Ensure your fur baby has access to clean water bowls and fresh water; clean and change the water daily.
Have multiple bowls of water around the house in different but accessible locations, particularly for animals who may have arthritis or mobility issues. For cats, experiment with drinking fountains or other sources of running water. This might encourage them to drink more water and also provide mental stimulation.
Adding a small amount of low sodium broth (garlic and onion-free) to the water bowl or to kibble could encourage some reluctant drinkers to drink.
What if they are drinking too much?
Drinking too much can be as problematic as drinking too little for our furry friends.
Excessive drinking could indicate an underlying condition such as:
- Liver disease
- Kidney Disease
If you are concerned about your animal companion’s water intake (either too much or too little), visit your veterinarian to have your furry friend examined. Help to keep your fur baby hydrated, healthy and happy.
Read our blog for more info on general pet care.