Summer can be an exciting season for both you and your furry friends, filled with long sunny days, beach trips, holidays, and extended outdoor activities. However, amidst all the fun, ensuring your dog stays properly hydrated becomes crucial, especially as the mercury rises. Dehydration in dogs is a serious concern and can have detrimental health impacts if not addressed promptly. It is vital that if you have any concerns about your dog being dehydrated, you should not hesitate to call your vet immediately, as this can be a really dangerous situation. Together with our partners at Burns Pet Nutrition, we delve deeper into this important topic.
Understanding Dehydration in Dogs
Before we start, it’s essential to understand what dehydration means for your dogs. Dehydration occurs when your dog loses more bodily fluids, mainly water and electrolytes, than they intake. It can lead to serious health complications such as kidney and liver damage, and in severe cases, it can be life-threatening.
Signs of Dehydration in Dogs
Being able to identify signs of dehydration in your dog is crucial. These may include lethargy, sunken eyes, loss of appetite, panting, dry nose and gums, loss of skin elasticity, and in extreme cases, collapse.
If you suspect that your dog is dehydrated, a simple at-home check can be to gently pull up the skin at the back of your dog’s neck or between the shoulder blades. In a well-hydrated dog, the skin should spring back quickly. If it takes a few seconds for the skin to return to its normal position, your dog may be dehydrated.
Prevention is the best cure when it comes to dehydration. Here’s some things to think about when it comes to preventing dehydration. By adopting these strategies, you can ensure your dog stays hydrated and healthy even during the hottest days of summer.
1. Constant Access to Fresh Water
Your dog should always have access to clean, fresh water. This is fundamental but particularly crucial in summer. Keep their water bowl filled, and replace the water at least once a day to ensure it stays fresh. Also ensure your dog’s water bowl is cleaned daily, so that they’re not getting any bad bacteria. If you’re going out with your dog, take a portable water bowl or bottle with you.
2. Nutritious, Moisture-Rich Diet
The diet of your dog plays a significant role in their hydration. While dry kibble is a popular choice for many dog owners, adding wet food to your dog’s diet can contribute to their overall fluid intake. Wet food has a high moisture content and can help keep your dog hydrated. Brands like Burns Pet Nutrition offer a range of wet foods that are not just high in moisture but also packed with essential nutrients.
3. Careful Exercise and Play
Exercise is important for your dog’s overall health, but in summer, you need to be mindful of the timing and intensity of physical activities. Try to schedule exercise sessions during the cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings or late evenings. Avoid intense play or training during peak heat hours to prevent overheating and excessive panting, which can lead to dehydration.
4. Keep Indoors Cool
If your dog spends most of their time indoors, make sure the environment is cool and comfortable. Use fans, air conditioning, or keep windows open (with screens to prevent escapes!) for a cool breeze.
5. Monitor Your Dog’s Behavior
Pay attention to your dog’s behaviour. If you notice any signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion, such as excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, or loss of appetite, take steps to cool your dog down and consult a vet if symptoms persist.
Expert Tips from Burns Pet Nutrition
- Regular Fluid Intake: Make sure your dog has easy access to plenty of clean water throughout the day. If you’re going out, bring a portable water bowl or bottle.
- Nutrition Matters: Incorporate wet food into your dog’s diet to increase their fluid intake. The Burns Penlan Farm Range offers a variety of moist foods that are both nutritious and delicious.
- Avoid Peak Sun Hours: Try to walk your dog in the cooler parts of the day, typically early morning or late evening, to avoid extreme heat and sun exposure.
- Know Your Dog: Some breeds are more prone to dehydration than others. Flat-faced breeds (like Bulldogs and Pugs), older dogs, puppies, and dogs with certain health conditions may require extra attention.
- Hydration Treats: Use hydration-boosting treats such as dog-friendly ice pops or frozen fruits. These can be a refreshing way to help your dog cool down and stay hydrated.
For further advice and support on canine nutrition and hydration, Burns Pet Nutrition has a dedicated team of nutrition experts available through their live chat service on their website. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any concerns or questions about your pet’s dietary needs. Their team is always ready to help ensure your dog’s health and happiness.
Summer is a season of fun and play, but it also brings potential hazards for our furry companions. By understanding and implementing these tips, you can ensure that your dog remains healthy and happy throughout the hot months. Here’s to a refreshing, joyful, and hydration-aware summer with your best friend!