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5 Ways to Keep Your Pets Hydrated This Summer

Poll: how many pet pictures do you have stored on your phone? If you are anything like us, there are more pictures of your dogs and cats than anything else. The point is, that we love our pets as much as we love our family (some days more). We buy them treats and toys, sweaters and jackets. But what they really need is a proper supply of nutritious food and hydrating water. 

July is pet hydration month, just when Cleveland will be reaching the hottest temperatures of the year. In this article, you will learn how to keep your pet hydrated in summer. Plus, we will discuss tips to get your pets to drink, what type of water to use and how much, traveling, and signs of dehydration.

dogs in window with 5-gallon water bottles

5 Ways to Keep Your Pets Hydrated This Summer

Keep the pet dish/ dispenser clean. 

You don’t want to drink from a dirty cup and neither does your pet. You should clean your pet’s water bowl with soap and warm water regularly. There are several signs that you are not cleaning it often enough: 

  • Cloudy water
  • Orange or green colored water
  • A slimy residue on the surface of the bowl

Change water daily.

Stagnant, stale water is not appealing to anyone – including your pets. You should change your pet’s water daily. Make it standard practice to empty and refill their bowl each morning, at feeding time, or after a walk. Tying it to an existing habit will make the task much easier to remember.

Put water on food.

Add a small amount of water to your pet’s kibble to increase their hydration. Moistened food will also encourage picky eaters to finish meals. This is also a good trick if your pet is experiencing any dental issues. Warm broth works like a charm too. But be careful, some broths have tons of sodium which may dehydrate your pet.

Bring water and a portable bowl on the go.

Like you, your animal will drink more if it’s available. Bring a portable water dish with you wherever you go and offer your pet a drink often. This will prevent your best friend from resorting to contaminated water from puddles or rivers. Give them fresh water instead for increased hydration and illness prevention.

Use more than one bowl.

Place several water bowls throughout your home. With easy accessibility, your pet is sure to drink more. And, if one runs out, there is always a secondary source of water. Don’t forget to change the water daily and keep all the bowls clean.

Make sure bowls can not be turned over.

This is a big one for playful puppies. If your pet is constantly turning its bowl over, you should invest in a spill-proof option. Some work with a skid-proof mat or bottom. Others are suction-style that adhere to the floor. The suction is tight enough that Fido can no longer play with the bowl. But loose enough that you can easily remove it for filling.

distillata driver giving dog a treat

How to get a dog to drink water

Increasing your pet’s hydration is one thing – getting them to drink period is another. Whether it is due to an illness, surgery, or demeanor some pets simply don’t drink enough. They will need some encouragement from you. Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Use your hand. Sometimes your dog needs reassurance from the person they trust most. Offer a small amount of cool, fresh water in the palm of your hand. Likely, they will be curious about what you are offering. Plus, dogs like the salty taste of our skin. Use this to your advantage to get your dog to drink more. 
  • Try ice cubes. Dogs are inclined to chew. Try giving your animal ice cubes to satisfy their chewing desire and get them to drink more water at the same time. 
  • Make broth popsicles. If your dog craves flavor – try making popsicles with broth. They won’t know they are drinking water while chewing on this delicious treat. As mentioned above, some broths have a high sodium content. Try using half water and half broth if this is a concern. 

How to get a cat to drink water

Cats are fascinated with moving water. They can’t resist the tiniest faucet drip, much less a free flowing stream. Our feline friends like to bat moving water with their paws at first. When they are more comfortable, you will find them drinking from the same source. You should work this instinct to your advantage. Try using a cat fountain to get them to drink more. Cat drinking fountains function automatically to keep water in motion. The sound is soothing, and your cat is likely to drink more water!

dog waiting for a drink from a bottled water cooler

Should I give my pet bottled water? 

Sure, you will avoid some contaminants in tap water by giving your pet bottled water instead. But, in most cases, tap water is safe for pets. The rule of thumb is: if you would drink it, they can too. Your pets should enjoy the same level of quality as you. After all, higher quality water tastes better. Thus your pet will drink more.

How much water does my pet need?

The amount of water your pet needs varies among species. Dogs need one ounce per pound of body weight. For example, if your dog weighs 25 pounds, it needs 25 ounces of water per day. Cats need a little less. Your cat should drink about .8 ounces per pound. For example, if your cat weighs 9 pounds, it needs slightly over 7 ounces of water per day. 

How to keep pets hydrated while traveling

Traveling with a pet is hard and sometimes it is dangerous. Pets tend to drink less or not at all in unfamiliar situations. Add car heat and dry air to the mix and disaster can strike. You should be prepared to keep your pet hydrated while traveling. Here are a few tips: 

  • In warm climates, keep the car windows closed and turn on the air conditioning.
  • Give your pet wet food before your trip. The extra moisture will start your animal out with an added level of hydration.
  • Try ice cubes if your pet will not drink from a bowl in the car.
  • Pour water into your cup holder. If you are a frequent traveler, this will create a comfortable habit for your pet. Don’t forget to clean the cup holder first.
  • Bring a bowl with a lid filled with water. Offer your pet water from the bowl at each rest stop. You can then cover it for the next part of your trip.
dog drinking bottled water from a 5-gallon water cooler

Signs of animal dehydration

No matter how hard you try, your pet may become dehydrated. How can you tell? Check for these symptoms of dehydration in animals:

  • Poor skin elasticity. Pinch a small amount of your pet’s skin on their neck. If it is slow to return to normal, they may be dehydrated.
  • Look for red, sticky gums.
  • Watch for no urine or deep yellow color.

If you suspect that your pet is dehydrated you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Hopefully, by following the tips in this article you can keep your pet hydrated and avoid a visit to the vet!

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