Thirsty? The Importance of Pet Hydration

We may have had a cool spring, but July is one of the hottest months of the year in the Midwest – so it’s no coincidence that it’s also National Pet Hydration Month. 

Keeping your pet hydrated is simple, but it’s something that can easily be an afterthought during the hustle and bustle of summer. The Pet Experts want to make sure our readers have all the information they need to keep pet hydration on the radar all summer long.

Know the Signs

Most pets don’t get enough water during warm weather. Cats are especially prone to becoming dehydrated, which can lead to kidney problems and other serious health issues.

Would you know if your pet was dehydrated? The following symptoms are indications of a dehydrated pet:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive panting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of skin elasticity (pinch your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades, in a well hydrated pet the skin should quickly fall back into place).
  • Dry mouth/gums

Pet Hydration

Unlike humans, who are made up of roughly 60% water, the body composition of dogs and cats are closer to 80% water. Making sure your best pal gets plenty of the wet stuff, especially during the summer, is absolutely critical to their health. Water helps to flush out toxins from the liver and kidneys, helps to regulate body temperature, increases energy, and prevents urinary tract infections.

Try our tips to encourage your pet to drink plenty of water:

  • Have fresh water available at all times. Clean the water bowl daily to keep the water tasting good.
  • Add water to your pet’s food by mixing it in with their kibble or adding wet food to the diet. 
  • Pour a little chicken or beef broth into your pet’s bowl to encourage drinking.
  • Increase your pet’s interest in water with a circulating water fountain.
  • Make sure to place a bowl of cold water outdoors in the shade while your pet is outside. Add ice cubes to keep it from heating up.
  • Many cats enjoy lapping water straight from the sink. Turn on a thin stream of water for a thirsty kitty.
  • Try one or more of our pet popsicle recipes made with fresh fruits or vegetables for a tasty and nutritious burst of liquid for your furry friend.

Don’t Forget the Little Guys

Keep an eye on small mammals and exotic pets during the summer months to ensure that they don’t become dehydrated. Make sure there is fresh water available at all times, and watch for signs of dehydration or heat stress, such as:

  • Listlessness
  • Panting/rapid breathing
  • Changes in balance or mobility
  • Decreased droppings
  • Feet hot to the touch (small mammals)
  • Inability to perch (birds will sit on the bottoms of their cages) 

If your pet is showing any of the signs of dehydration or heat stress, please contact The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital immediately.

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