bulldog drinking water from a bowl.

If there is one thing we know in Texas, it is heat. Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital understands how important it is to monitor the temperature and hydration status of our furry friends. Pets, just like people, rely on adequate water intake and proper body temperature to maintain optimal health. Read on to learn about the best way to keep your pets hydrated. 

Hydration is Important

Water is a key component of life, and our dogs and cats are no exception. Proper hydration plays a big role in maintaining normal physiological processes and function. Good hydration supports:

  • Optimal organ function 
  • Temperature regulation
  • Joint and muscle health 

When a pet becomes dehydrated normal functions like digestion and circulation become compromised, which leads to major concerns. 

How Can I Tell if My Pet is Dehydrated?

Detecting dehydration in pets early is crucial. On very hot days, we tend to be more vigilant, but also beware of those sunny (but temperate days) where dehydration can sneak up on us. 

Watch out for signs of dehydration in your pet including:

  • Dry, sticky mouth and/or gums
  • Sunken appearing eyes
  • Decreased skin elasticity (if you tent your pet’s skin, does it snap back?)
  • Decreased urination
  • Weakness and/or lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea

If your pet is exhibiting any of these signs, it is definitely time to seek a cool resting place and offer some water. 

Tips for Proper Pet Hydration

You may be asking yourself, “What is the best way to keep my pets hydrated?” Never fear, we have some great tips to help ensure summer safety and good hydration: 

  • Water Is Life: Be sure that your pet always has access to fresh, clean, cool water. A bowl should be readily accessible and refilled regularly. Don’t forget to pack water for your pet when you are out and about. 
  • Hydrating Foods Can Be Helpful: Your pet may enjoy treats to help keep them hydrated. Canned food, melon without the rind, and cucumber can make great choices.
  • Outdoor Precautions: When outdoors, be sure that your pet has access to a shady spot. Don’t forget to bring water along when out for walks and offer frequently. 
  • Care During Exercise: A portable water bottle and/or collapsible bowl are must-haves for pets who are active during the warmer months. Try to encourage your pet to be active during the cooler parts of the day. 
  • Grooming Considerations: Good grooming can help cool your pet, but remember that your dog cools itself through panting and its paw pads. The fur can actually insulate your dog against the heat and prevent sunburn. Never shave your dog’s coat down to the skin. 

Pet hydration is important to ensuring overall health and well-being. Being aware of how your pet is handling the heat and making adjustments as necessary can help prevent trouble. Don’t hesitate to contact us, though, if you think that your pet might be dehydrated or overheated. You don’t want to ignore a potentially serious problem