When you think about things that could go wrong with your pet, you don't often think about dehydration as a major threat. Many people are more concerned about fleas, vaccines, and other basic care that prevents serious disease. However, dehydration can be very common in dogs, and if you are not careful, your dog could become very ill from lack of fluids.
Here are some simple tips to help you make sure your dog avoids dehydration.
1. Always have water available.
Many people wisely only bring out the food bowl at meal times. Having a set meal schedule helps to prevent obesity in dogs. However, your pet's water bowl should always be available. It may seem bothersome to you, and if people get into the water or step in it try moving the dish to a remote area of the home. Change the water daily. Dogs don't like to drink dirty, stale water, and they might avoid drinking if they don't have good water to drink. Wash the bowl each day.
2. Bring water with you on long walks.
Winter or summer, your dog needs water when exercising. If you're just leaving the house for ten or fifteen minutes, there's no need to bring some water. But long walks will mean thirst, and a dog can get dehydrated quickly, especially if it is very hot outside. It's also important to realize that cold weather walks cause thirst as well. Your dog may not have the same cues (excessive panting, etc.) that you associate with thirst, but as a rule of thumb, if your dog has been outside in the cold for longer than an hour, they will need plenty to drink to help restore the right amount of fluids.
3. Don't forget about water on car trips.
As winter rolls into spring and summer, road trips become more and more common. Dehydration is a common side effect of road trips, especially for dogs who are being transported in a carrier or kennel. You might not think to let your dog drink while you're driving, and if you push the trip for hours, only stopping for fuel, your dog will start to get very thirsty. Vomiting in cars is not just caused because of motion sickness; it's a sign of dehydration as well.
Dehydration injuries are more common than you might think. For more information about keeping your dog fed and watered, contact a local veterinarian.