white samoyed dog and cat playing at the beach.

Cats and dogs listen to their instincts extremely well, which is a trait that helps them stay safe and healthy. However, pet dehydration is a very real risk, especially in extreme heat and humidity. We can help you address this health condition and take steps to ensure your pet is perfectly satisfied. 

How Much Is Enough?

The minimum amount of water consumption for dogs is approximately 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. Active dogs, those with medical conditions, and pregnant/nursing females should always have more water available. Likewise, during the summer months, dogs should always have the option of drinking more than the minimum.

Cats benefit from 5-10 ounces of water per day. If they are bigger in size, highly active, or eat kibble exclusively, they may need more water each day. Again, during the summer months, we encourage cats to drink as much as they can throughout the day.  

When Is Too Much a Bad Thing?

Hydration is extremely important for our animal friends, but overconsumption of water is equally damaging to their health. Water toxemia occurs when a pet’s body cannot process the amount of water being swallowed. This event causes an imbalance between sodium outside the cells and fluid inside the cells. While the body’s many organs can adjust to this imbalance, the brain can be negatively impacted. Signs of toxemia may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Restlessness
  • Drooling

Sometimes, pets can have an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or poisoning, that increases their thirst drive. If you notice any changes to your pet’s behavior, please let us know.

Prevent Pet Dehydration

There are some creative ways to increase water consumption during the summer months:

  • Ice cubes
  • Frozen Kongs
  • Frozen berries
  • Running water fountains
  • Increased exercise (but only during the safe hours of dawn and dusk)
  • Frequently cleaned and refilled water bowls
  • Added water bowls around the house and yard
  • Add flavoring to their water like tuna water or water from canned food

Danger of Heat Stroke

Dogs and cats can easily become dehydrated in hot weather, if they over exercise in the middle of the day, and do not increase their body’s water needs. This can lead to heat stroke, a dangerous health condition that causes these symptoms:

  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Fever
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Mobility issues
  • Seizure
  • Loss of consciousness

These symptoms indicate a pet emergency, and must be tended to immediately. Heatroke and pet dehydration can be treated if caught and treated early. Oxygen, IV fluids, rest, and education can help a pet recover

The summer can be an incredible season for making special memories with your pet. If you have additional questions about preventing pet dehydration, please call us at (603) 926‑7978. Our team at Hampton Veterinary Hospital is always here for your pet.