We all recognize that hot weather will increase our dog’s water intake, and we take steps to make sure an unlimited supply is available during the warmer months of the year.
But as winter sets in, we should be just as diligent to ensure adequate intake, and we should make sure dogs have access and don't encounter frozen water bowls.
Pet owners should know what a normal daily water requirement is and what factors might increase that. Here is a guide for minimum water intake for adult dogs in normal environments and activity levels:
• 10 pound dog, 14 ounces of water per day.
• 20 pound dog, 23 ounces of water per day.
• 40 pound dog, 39 ounces of water per day.
• 60 pound dog, 50 ounces of water per day.
• 80 pound dog, 63 ounces of water per day.
• 100 pound dog, 75 ounces of water per day.
This guide illustrates that small dogs and smaller pets in general have an increased need on a pound per pound basis than a 100-pound Chesapeake Bay retriever!
Puppies will require even more fluids per pound of body weight and, for this reason, they are highly susceptible to dehydration when sick. The increased surface area of smaller pets versus their weight in pounds dictates this necessity.
Fever, panting, exercise and higher outside temperatures will drastically increase water requirements. In fact, a sudden change in water consumption can signal disease such as diabetes or kidney diseases.
Conscientious owners should also be aware that dehydration can set in even more rapidly with these issues — especially in young pets — if inadequate intake occurs.
Pet owners should keep in mind that the quantities listed above are minimums, not the amount your pet should have available when faced with any of these difficulties. The best bet is a bottomless bowl when thirst strikes your pet.
In fact, your pet’s hydration status and water needs should be discussed with your veterinarian at every visit. Research suggests that cats, as indoor confined pets, historically have been shortchanged with fluids and the addition of more fluid intake can treat and perhaps prevent some common diseases.
Always discuss your pet’s water intake with your veterinarian at every appointment and mention any change in their consumption.
Questions? Send them to Dr. Sandeman, Home & Garden, Quad-City Times, 500 E. 3rd St., Davenport, IA 52801. Or, email to papertrained@ mchsi.com. Dr. Sandeman cannot answer letters or email personally, but questions of general interest will be answered in this column.