This article is contributed by guest writer, Richard Rowlands (pet and veterinary writer).
How to Keep Your Pet Hydrated and Healthy This Summer
Summertime means fun in the sun, picnics and barbecues, and plenty of time spent outdoors. But it also means hot weather and high humidity levels that can be dangerous for our pets.
Dogs and cats can easily become dehydrated during the summer months, so it’s important to take some precautions to keep them hydrated and healthy. Keep on reading to find out what causes dehydration in pets, the warning signs to look out for, and how to keep your pet hydrated and healthy this summer.
What causes dehydration in pets?
Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in and can’t function properly as a result. This can happen for a number of reasons, including:
- Not drinking enough water
- Excessive diarrhea or vomiting
- Fever or illness
- Underlying conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease
In summer, dehydration is often caused by insufficient water intake or excessive fluid loss from panting. Pets can become dehydrated very quickly, especially if they don’t have access to fresh water. Dehydration can also occur rapidly when pets exercise outdoors in hot weather or simply spend too much time in the sun.
What are the warning signs of dehydration?
Since dehydration can come on quickly, it’s vital to be aware of the warning signs so you can take action right away. Some of the most common signs of dehydration in pets are:
- Lethargy or weakness
- Dry nose or gums
- Panting excessively
- Sunken eyes
- Decreased appetite
- Dark urine or decreased urination
- Vomiting or diarrhea
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take your pet to the vet immediately. If left untreated, dehydration can lead to serious health problems, including organ damage, shock, and even death.
5 simple ways to keep your pet hydrated
Now for the good news. By taking a few basic precautions, you can greatly reduce the risk of dehydration in your pet. Here are five simple ways to keep your furry friend hydrated and healthy this summer:
1) Make sure they always have access to fresh, clean water
Pets need fresh, clean water just like humans do, and it’s vital to make sure they always have access to it – especially in summer. Place bowls of water around your home and yard and ensure they’re always kept filled.
You could also consider investing in a pet water fountain to encourage your pet to drink more.
These devices constantly circulate water, keeping it clean and fresh. Plus, many pets find running water more appealing than still water, so they’re more likely to drink more.
2) Add some bone broth or chicken broth to their water
Let’s face it, water can be pretty boring. To make it more appealing (and nutritious), try adding some low-sodium bone broth or chicken broth to your pet’s water bowl. This will not only encourage them to drink more but also give them a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.
Bone broth in particular is great for pets as it’s packed full of amino acids, collagen, and other nutrients that support joint health. Add a couple of tablespoons to their water bowl each day or freeze into ice cubes and add to their water as needed.
3) Make some delicious frozen treats
Speaking of ice cubes, there are all sorts of fun frozen treats you can make for your pet to help them stay cool and hydrated in summer. These can be given as a special treat or used to flavor and cool down their water.
Simply choose some pet-safe ingredients like chopped fruits and vegetables, xylitol-free peanut butter, or shredded meat, and mix with water, low-sodium broth, or yogurt. Then, pour the mixture into an ice cube tray or silicone mold and freeze until solid.
Some of our favorite combinations include:
- Peanut butter and banana
- Coconut water and blueberries
- Chicken, bone broth, and carrots
- Plain yogurt and strawberries
There are endless possibilities, so get creative and experiment with different flavors to find what your pet likes best. Just be sure to avoid ingredients that are harmful to pets, like chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, and garlic.
4) Take water and a collapsible bowl with you on walks
If you’re going for a walk or hike with your pet, be sure to bring along plenty of water and a collapsible bowl. This way, you can give them regular sips of water to keep them hydrated throughout the day.
It’s also a good idea to avoid walking during the hottest hours of the day, sticking to cooler morning and evening hours instead. If it’s too hot to walk, try playing in the backyard or taking your pet for a swim instead. Just be sure to supervise them at all times and never leave them unattended around water.
5) Keep your pet inside on very hot days
Our final tip is also one of the most important: on days when the temperatures are soaring, it’s best to keep your pet inside. This is especially true for older pets, puppies and kittens, short-nosed breeds, and those with health conditions that make them more susceptible to the effects of the heat.
If your pet must go outside, provide them with a shady spot to rest in and follow the tips above to keep them hydrated. Just be sure to keep an eye on them and bring them inside if they start showing signs of dehydration or heat stroke, such as excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea. And always contact your veterinarian immediately if you have any concerns.
Have a fun and safe summer with your pet!
By following these tips, you can help your pet stay cool, hydrated, and healthy all summer long. Just make sure to plan ahead and take the necessary precautions to keep them safe in the heat. Thanks for reading, and have a fun and safe summer with your furry friend!