Dehydration is a serious, yet easily ignored condition in pets. It occurs when your pet's body loses more water (fluid) than what's been. taken in. All animals rely on water to keep their internal organs functioning at their best. Besides this, water helps with facilitating muscle function, transporting nutrients, regulating nerve function, and balancing the body's pH.
Whilst it's normal for pets to lose water from their bodies (through sweat and urine) during the day, it is crucial to ensure that they are consuming double the amount that is being lost. When this doesn't happen, blood flow is reduced, leading to a loss of important electrolytes like sodium, chloride, and potassium, which results in symptoms of dehydration.
What are the symptoms of dehydration?
Dogs and cats show the same signs of dehydration, however, cats are better at hiding these signs and hence need to be paid more attention to prevent it from becoming dangerous and irreversible.
How do I prevent dehydration?
1. Always have a fresh bowls of water
Ensure you have fresh bowls of water placed in cool, well-ventilated areas of the house. You can also choose to add ice cubes to the water on days that are hotter than usual. If your pet doesn't drink water as frequently as they should, you can choose to feed them fruit juices (seedless watermelon) or bone broth to keep their hydration level intact.
2. Exercise your pet before sunrise & after sunset
Do not exercise your pet when the sun is out as this can elevate symptoms of dehydration, especially if your pet isn't hydrated enough before leaving the house. You can also choose to engage in water activities like swimming or indoor activities like puzzle toys on days when it's too hot to walk.
3. Don't take your pet out for a ride
Taking your pet out on during the day, unless in an emergency, isn't the best idea because most pets find it hard to cool off in a car, even with the AC on. If your pet enjoys car rides, it is best to keep them for after the sun sets.
4. Leave the AC/fan on at all times
It is crucial to leave the AC/fan on at all times when your pet is inside the house. This helps with overall circulation and prevents your pet's body from becoming overheated (especially seen amongst long and double coat breeds of dog and cat).
5. Feed them cooling foods
The best cooling foods to feed on hot days are - curd, seedless watermelon, apples, blueberries, bone broth, cucumber, coconut water, buttermilk, and strawberries! You can feed them as tiny bite-sized pieces or as a smoothie during treat time.
Now that you know how to prevent dehydration in pets, you and your pet are better equipped to handle the summer heat!