We all happily embrace the summer months and any sunny days that come with it, but unfortunately not all pet owners are in the know when it comes to keeping their cats and dogs hydrated in the heat. A recent survey* that we carried out to help to raise awareness about the importance of pet hydration for good health, found that nearly half (45%) of UK pet owners are unclear about how much water to give their pets to drink.
A particular source of worry that our survey showed is the high number of owners (70%) who wouldn’t know how to tell if their pet was dehydrated. In fact, over half of dog owners believe that panting is a sign of dehydration – a common misconception as this is actually a sign for a dog being too hot or anxious.
We all know dogs like to eat and drink most things they come across, but it’s important to prevent this to avoid any health risks. Our survey highlighted some of the common liquid hazards, with puddle water topping the list of things dogs like to drink other than water. 42% of dog owners admitted their dogs regularly sip stagnant water, which most owners don’t realise can be potentially dangerous and cause a stomach upset for their furry friend.
In true British style, tea was also popular, with 25% of dogs enjoying a cuppa (or some of their owner’s!), while only 15% of cats are guilty of this. However, a main concern for feline owners is cow’s milk, which a quarter of cats are regularly given to drink by their owners, most often due to the commonly believed myth that it’s good for them. The dairy content can in fact be quite indigestible for cats, causing problems such as severe cramps and diarrhoea and even leading to obesity.
Our veterinary consultant David Chamberlain acknowledged these worrying results and the importance of educating pet owners with the facts: “The results clearly show that pet owners need to become more savvy when it comes to hydrating their pets and the types of liquids they allow them to drink.”
“Even losing just 10% of the body’s water can have serious consequences for a dog or cat, and hotter weather, exercise and periods of illness can all contribute to water loss. It’s vital to ensure that pets have access to clean, fresh water at all times, and make sure that they are drinking enough to keep them happy and healthy.”
There are various simple measures that can make a big difference in encouraging good hydration, such as always taking water on long car journeys and making sure your pets have access to water during and after any walks or activities. For those times when you’re out with your dog, be sure to keep an eye on them if they have a tendency to drink from unknown sources or puddle water. You’ll find that if your pet is getting enough fresh water then they won’t need to go looking for any other alternative sources!
Here are some good facts for any cat or dog owners to be aware of to help ensure a healthy summer for your furry friend:
- 80% of a pet’s body is made of water, while humans are only made up of 60% water.
- As a general rule, dogs require 80ml of water per kilogram per day and cats require 60ml, however, the amount should be doubled in warmer climates.
- Symptoms of dehydration include lethargy, sunken eyes, and loss of appetite and depression. Another common symptom is when pets’ gums lose moistness and become dry and sticky.
Average recommended water intake for a cat and dog per day:
|Weight||Breed/Species||Water (ml)||200ml Glasses (Approx.)|
* Survey carried out by Cencuswide in May 2015 of 500 UK cat and dog owners.