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Dehydration in dogs can lead to many health issues. It becomes very important for a dog owner to watch out for a lack of fluids in the pet’s body. Ensuring proper hydration is crucial as water not only cleanses the internal system but also provides overall nourishment. Dr. Cynthia Otto, DVM, PHD and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s school of veterinary medicine in Philadelphia has stated that a dog can go a long time without food but without water it will not be able survive. It is interesting to note that just like human beings a dog’s body is made up of 80 percent water.
Symptoms of Dehydration in Dogs:
Diarrhea: Vomiting and diarrhea are indicative of dehydration and sadly can just worsen the condition, furthering the water loss in the body.
Fatigue: In the absence of proper hydration your dog is sure to feel tired. Water propels metabolic processes in the pooch’s body including digestion. Fatigue in turn can lead to other illnesses.
Appetite Loss: Another negative outcome is appetite loss. This is a clear sign that your dog isn’t feeling well and needs to be taken to a vet without delay.
Skin loses its elasticity/suppleness: A dehydrated dog‘s skin loses its ability to fall back into its original place/shape when pulled or pinched.
Dry eyes and mouth: A loss or lack of water in the body causes eyes to appear dry, sticky gums, and a dry mouth/mucous membranes.
The occurrence of any of the above condition will prompt a serious concern for your pooch with an inevitable visit to the veterinarian to know the exact reason for dehydration.
How much water will my dog need on any regular day?
Obviously pointers like your dog’s age, size, level-of activity and weather conditions will govern the amount of daily water consumption. An average dog’s daily intake of fresh water must be 250ml – 500 ml of water for evey 4.1 Kg of its body weight .
Benefits of water in a dog’s life, it goes beyond just quenching the thirst and regulating the body’s temperature. ‘’Blood is mostly water,’’ says Dr. Otto. She further explains that water is crucial for transporting nutrients to the body and proper brain & muscle functioning. Another important point made by Dr. Cynthia talks about how water plays a role in flushing out injurious toxins from the canine body, which if not expelled can lead to heart and kidney damage. The circulation of water also facilitates oxygen to reach the cells. Hydration is also connected to a dog’s smelling power. Water helps to keep the nose moist thereby encouraging a strong sense of smell in the canine that is equipped to pick-up the faintest of smells. Even the act of panting adopted by pooches to keep cool is connected with water. When a dog pants, there is a release of water through its tongue this helps to cool it down.
Dog parents must ensure their pet has access to fresh drinking water at home or while outdoors on a walk. In case your dog enjoys drinking from a water bottle, carry one when you take it out for a walk or a play session to the park. Also dogs involved in sports need an adequate supply of water to stay ahead of the game.