Monday, June 21, 2010

Water Consumption for Dogs

WATER CONSUMPTION by Dr. Jon

How much water does your dog really need? That's a tough question. But before I answer it, I want to stress how vital water is to your dog's health. It is essential for life. It helps digest food, carry and absorb nutrients, flush out waste and control body temperature.

Next to oxygen, water is the most important nutrient in your dog's body. Dogs can go for days without food. A dog's body can lose all of its fat and up to half of its protein and still survive. But when a dog loses just 10 percent of his body's water, bodily functions shut down causing serious illness. A 15 percent loss of water will kill him.

So how much water does your dog need? It depends on his stress level, how active he is, his size, his age, his health and the kind of food he eats. Even the weather can be a factor.

There is no steadfast rule. In general, animals should take in two and a half times more water than food. Another useful guideline for dogs weighing 20 pounds or less is that they need about 1 cup (8 ounces) of water for every 5 pounds of body weight. So, a healthy 15-pound dog would need 3 cups of water a day.

Dogs don't have to DRINK their daily fill of water. They also get water from the food they eat. Wet food has a lot more water than kibbles or dry food. Snacks like apples are also a great source of water.

When fresh, clean water is available a dog will generally drink all he needs to survive. The fresher the water, the more appealing it will be to your dog.

As a general rule, change the water in your dog's bowl at least 3 times a day. Make sure your dog's bowl is clean. If you wouldn't drink from it, chances he won't want to drink from it either. You need to wash your dog's water bowl every day and disinfect it regularly to control bacteria.

The better the water tastes, the more likely your dog is to drink it. Try using bottled or filtered water. Dogs also prefer cool water. That's why a pet fountain is a great way to help your dog drink more. It filters the impurities so the water tastes better; and the constant motion keeps the water cool, just the way your dog likes it.
Dr. Jon

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