This summer is serving up a heatwave of epic proportions, and while we know how important it is to keep ourselves hydrated and cool, let’s not forget to keep an eye out for our four-legged friends. In fact, heatstroke and dehydration can be life threatening to dogs, so it’s important to give extra attention and monitor their temperature and hydration levels on hot days.
Here are some helpful tips to ensure your dog enjoys summer as much as you do.
How much water does my dog need?
Anywhere between 1/2 to 1 oz of fresh water per pound of body weight is a good rule of thumb (for our Australasian readers, that’s 20-70ml for every kilogram). The more active your dog is, and the hotter it is, the more they will need. On very hot days, your dog may need 3 to 4 times their usual amount of water.
Water will help your dog's essential electrolytes, allowing for all important functions including circulation, digestion, and bowel movements. Good electrolyte stores also help your dog's kidneys flush out toxins from their bloodstream and promote a healthy cardiovascular system.
There are a number of factors that may affect how much water your dog needs, including:
- Breed: dogs with thin, short coats will handle hot temperatures better than breeds with short noses and thick coats.
- Age: Puppies need to have their water intake more closely monitored (especially when toilet training), whereas adult dogs mostly self-regulate their water intake. If your dog is a sloppy drinker (and most are!) you may need to add more to account for all the water that ends up on the floor.
- Dogs with specific conditions like diabetes often need a little more attention on those hot days too, and keep in mind their weight.
- Specific medications can also change how much water your dog needs, so do be sure to check in with your vet before making any significant alterations.
What should I be feeding?
Diet also plays a key role in the hydration needs of your pet. Here are our top products for boosting the daily water intake of your pet.
- K9 Natural canned recipes are blended with fresh New Zealand water. With no gelling agents, fillers, or binders of any kind, the 80%+ moisture content of these complete and balanced recipes are perfect for a thirsty pup. Available in 5 delicious flavors, there’s something to satisfy even the fussiest of eaters.
- For dogs who live a life full of flavor, a sprinkle K9 Natural Freeze-Dried Tripe added to a small bowl of water is sure to get them interested. Simply let the tripe pellets soak for a few minutes and infuse the water flavor.
Exercise during the coolest parts of the day
Plan your dog’s main exercise for the cooler parts of the day, i.e., in the early morning or late evening. This will help them avoid overheating and ensure their time in the fresh air is the most enjoyable.
If you’re ever not sure whether it’s too hot to take your dog out, checking the temperature of the pavement by placing your hand against the pavement for 5 to 7 seconds is a great precautionary measure. If it's too hot for your hand, then it's too hot for your dog’s paws.
Lots of breaks in the shade or sniffing the nearest bush is also a great way to beat the heat.
Provide a shady spot
Unventilated areas like parked cars or closed dog houses are not fun for your dog in summer. Instead, we recommend setting up an area in your yard that provides constant shade for your four-legged friend. A shade screen is awesome if you don’t have any large trees.
Go for a swim
Whether it's a lake, river, stream, or even a kiddie pool in your backyard, a swim is one of the best ways for you and your dog to stay cool this summer. If your dog isn’t a fan of swimming (and many aren’t), soak a towel with water and lay it across their body. You can also mist them with the hose – a great game for all involved.
If you are playing with your dog at the beach, a pool, a lake, or a stream, make sure you bring fresh water and a travel bowl as saltwater can dehydrate pups, while lakes and streams can contain bugs -remember, just because they are clear, doesn’t mean they are clean! If you wouldn’t drink from the water, your dog shouldn’t either – this includes chlorinated pools.
Offer frozen treats
Frozen pet milk cubes aren’t the only frozen treat worth giving. Frozen apples, peas or watermelon are great healthy snacks, or to add in a level of enrichment, why not fill a Kong or Toppl with some of their favorite K9 Natural Treats, cover with peanut butter and pop in the freezer.
One last note – it’s really important that if you suspect your dog to be dehydrated or experiencing heat stroke, get in touch with your local vet immediately.
Having a healthy, happy dog during summer might require a few adjustments to your routine, but it’s all worth it. Don’t forget to look after your own hydration levels too!