Be drink aware...
Dehydration in dogs is a common, potentially life-threatening condition. It's the result of not drinking enough water and electrolytes or losing too much fluid and will affect performance in milder cases and require immediate veterinary attention in more severe cases. Research by Slurps has found that two out of three dogs* don't drink enough. Susan Gregory, Chief Slurper, shares some ways to keep your dog safe.
Water is the single most important nutrient for humans and dogs alike.
All dogs struggle to stay cool in high temperatures and humid conditions since, unlike humans, they are unable to cool down quickly through sweating, which is especially pertinent when we are at training and shows. Dogs donít know how much activity you have planned, or that they need to drink more in warmer weather so itís really important that owners manage their hydration.
Unlike humans, dogs don't know how long they will be running for, or that warmer temperatures require more hydration so it's really important to make sure they drink enough.
The BVA reports that exertional, heat-related illness is a particular problem for younger dogs, active dogs (including Labrador Retrievers, Border Collies, Boxers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers), and particularly male dogs. They also state that in the UK, one in seven dogs affected by heat-related illness will die.
1. How often should your dog drink?
Watch out! Always avoid puddles Ė particularly in car parks, which harbour toxins and contaminants dogs should not ingest.
2. How much should your dog drink?
In cool weather, vets recommend 50ml per kg bodyweight per day for an averagely exercised dog.
Watch out! In warmer weather and for sport and more active dogs, vets recommend increasing the above by 50%.
3. How do you get your dog to drink?
Just like the proverbial horse, you can lead a dog to water but it's really hard to make them drink if they're not interested.
Watch out! Make sure your dog doesn't drink an entire bowl of water in one go or you might see it all come back up! Moderate their drinking, even if it means taking the water bowl to slow things down.
the signs of dehydration in dogs?
Early symptoms of dehydration include excessive panting, loss of appetite and general lethargy. At this point, get your dog into a cool place, ideally place a cool wet towel over them / stand them in cold water and hydrate them slowly with water or something with more nutrients.
More advanced symptoms of dehydration are extremely serious. If you see these, you should take your dog to a vet immediately.
Next time you're concerned about your dog's hydration, do the poke test again. If it takes longer than normal for the gums to go pink, your dog needs a drink.
Remember the basics...
First published: 28th August 2020
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