9 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Hydrated During the Summer
The summer can be hard on pets and humans alike. While the sunshine means more fun and games outdoors, it can also mean heat exhaustion and dehydration. Protect your pet, your dog, from this during the summer by doing the following things to ensure proper hydration:
How to keep your dog hydrated
- Keep an eye on your dog. Your dog should be staying properly hydrated if you are providing them with the fluids to do so, but sometimes, just like humans, just because something is available to them, doesn’t mean they are taking advantage of it. So, make certain your dog is actually getting the fluids they need. If your dog is panting too much without exerting through physical exercise, or seems to be sweating too much, or is sluggish, these can be early signs of dehydration. So, stick their snout in the water so that they remember it is there, and to get a good drink.
- Keep their water dish full. Provide them with plenty of water, and they should be able to avoid dehydration this summer. This is often easier said than done. A dog may knock over a water dish in their excitement, or require more water than fills the dish at one time. Some of the ways to avoid these problems in order to ensure your dog is getting plenty of water is first, buy a sturdy water bowl that is difficult to knock over. Shallower, wider, dishes are better for stability, but may need to be filled more often.
- Give them protection from the sun. One of the reasons dogs may not stay hydrated all summer is that they are exposed to the sun during some of the harshest sun hours of the day. If you want to help your dog stay hydrated during the summer, do your best to keep them indoors or in the shade during the hottest parts of the day. If you can’t put them in your house, consider a well ventilated garage, or a car port, or somewhere that they will get plenty of shade, and not be sitting in direct sunlight, sweating, and losing all of their body fluids.
- Give your dog a hair cut. A thick fur coat is going to make them hot, which may make them sweat more. So, help your dog retain less heat by trimming their hair to a shorter length for the hot summer months. This way they will cool off more quickly, and lose less fluids through sweating. Of course, you want to be careful that in shaving them you do not expose sensitive skin to the sun, and allow it to be sunburned.
- Do not leave them in cars, or for long periods of time unattended. If you are going on a summer vacation, or something, don’t just stick them in the backyard with plenty of water and food. What if they nock their water over? Put them in a kennel, or have a neighbor watch them. Leaving them unattended can lead to dehydration and death. The same holds true of leaving them in a car. It can grow very hot, and lead to dehydration.
- Provide them with plenty of water. The most obvious way to keep your dog hydrated all summer is to make sure they are getting plenty of fluids. The best way to do that is provide them with fresh water everyday, and make sure they are given opportunities to drink after any physical exertion that they undergo. In addition, if you are worried they are just not getting enough fluids to stay hydrated, you could change from a dry or kibble type dog food to a wet, canned dog food. The fact remains, that if you want a well hydrated dog, they have to have fluid available to them at all times. You don’t need a drink only once a day, so don’t think your dog can manage off a drink once a day. Keep their water dish full. If you are too busy to keep it full, buy a more expensive, but self filling dish with a water storage container attached to it so you only have to fill it occasionally.
- Change your dog’s water regularly. You may think your dog is getting enough water because their water bowl has liquid in it, but dogs are not going to want to drink old, dirty water any more than you are. So, one of the things you need to do to help keep your dog hydrated during the summer is change their water, and clean their water dish daily. If not, a film might form around the dish, and the water could have bacteria, and other things in it that could make your dog sick.
- During the hottest parts of the day, which are generally between 10 am and 4 pm, you should keep your dog indoors or in the shade. If your dog is not allowed in your house, or you do not have a place to pen them up while you are at work, etc. that is inside, then at the very least make sure that they have sufficient cover or protection all day long. They need something that will stay shaded as the sun moves across the sky. They need a space that will be cool, and remain cool so that they do not overheat. Even with water, being in the heat of the sun all day can cause dehydration or fatigue.
- Trim their hair. A thick fur coat in the middle of winter might be nice, but in summer it means trapped heat and increased sweating. You may not realize how hot your dog is, but increased sweating means loss of hydration. Help your dog stay cool and hydrated by shaving them, or trimming their hair when summer starts. Just be careful that the exposed skin does not get a sun burn.