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How Can I Make Sure My Dog or Cat Drinks Enough Water?

Summer is almost here which means lots of hot and sunny weather!

Summer can be a great time to have some fun with your pet outdoors (except for when it’s very hot). Cats and dogs shouldn’t be exposed to hot weather for very long as they can get dehydrated and overheated very quickly. You should make sure your pet drinks enough water and is hydrated at all times, summer or winter.

Some pets such as cats are notorious for not drinking a lot of water. Wild cats remain hydrated not just by drinking water but also through the fluid in the meat of the animals they eat. House cats on a wet food diet also use the liquid in their food to keep hydrated. However cats (and dogs) who eat mainly dry food and who don’t naturally drink a lot of water may sometimes have to be encouraged to do so.

There are a few different things you can try to encourage your pet to drink more water. Try the tips below to see if they work for your pet!

Keeping Your Pet Hydrated

Water is very important for your pet’s overall health all year round. If your pet is a fussy drinker, some of the tips below might help.

  • Change the location of your pet’s water bowl. Wild cats don’t drink water if it’s close to their food source for fear of contamination so their drinking spot is never close to where they eat. House cats have inherited this behaviour and will more readily drink from a bowl placed some distance away from where they eat.
  •  Place more bowls around the house. If your pet can access water easily then that may encourage him/her to drink more. You don’t have to place water bowls in every room but having them in 2/3 key locations where your pet spends most time might do the trick.
  • Make sure your pet has fresh clean water to drink at all times and keep their water bowl clean⁠. Change the water in your pet’s bowl at least once a day and keep it clean and clear of fur, dust, and other debris. Use drinking water instead of tap water as tap water can contain a high level of sediment in it.
  • Consider the material your pet’s bowl is made of. If you notice your pet drinks more water out of a glass bowl than a plastic bowl for example, switch all his/her bowls to glass. If they seem to prefer stainless steel, then use stainless steel bowls instead. Different pets have different preferences but if you notice something works better than others then change things to suit your pet’s preference.
  • Try different options. Water fountains can sometimes entice pets to drink more water. Water fountains are great for pets who like drinking water from taps or who enjoy drinking running water. They can also raise a pet’s curiosity and make him/her want to drink from the fountain. Water dispensers are another option and can store more water than bowls but since the water in them is still, things can fall into the bowl portion of the dispenser and make it unsuitable for drinking.
  • Include wet food in your pet’s diet if possible. If your pet eats dry food then try feeding him/her wet food sometimes. The liquid in the food is a good way to increase your pet’s water intake. Some pets don’t like wet food however and if your pet won’t eat it then this tip won’t work with them.

Keep in mind that dogs and cats don’t need to drink as much water as we do. As a general rule, most dogs need around one ounce of fluid per their body weight in pounds every day. A 10 pound dog for example, will need slightly more than a cup of clean fresh water a day. A cat of the same weight would need between 7 to 9 ounces of water daily depending on his/her requirements (cats drink less water than dogs in general). Puppies and female dogs that are lactating however generally need to drink more water than average so it’s all about what your pet needs. A pet’s needs can vary depending on what life stage they’re in and other factors like physical activity, weather, diet, etc. Remember, if your pet eats wet food then the liquid in that counts as well and contributes towards your pet’s water intake.

If your pet is healthy and active there is no need to monitor their drinking habits unnecessarily or force them to drink more water. However if you suspect your pet’s drinking habits have changed recently or dramatically then it’s a good idea to start observing them more carefully.

If you’ve already tried a few things and your pet still drinks very little water or has significantly decreased his/her water intake, it may be time for a visit to the vet to make sure there is no underlying health condition that needs to be addressed. ⁠Drinking too much, or too little, or no water can be a sign of a physical illness which only your veterinarian will be able to diagnose and treat.

Keep yourself and your pets hydrated! 🚰🚰🚰


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