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The basic drink all pets need this summer

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Hydration requirements vary between pets, but the idea remains the same: Pets need water to stay healthy.

As summer temperatures rise, hydration becomes less of a strong suggestion and more of a vital choice. If you're a pet owner, keep in mind that you're not the only thirsty one in the house. Your pets rely on you to give them the right amount of water each day, so keep that duty in mind as you enjoy the season with your furry friends.

Hydrating your pet

Hydration requirements vary between pets. A dog's daily threshold is one ounce of water per pound of body weight. Dogs lose water through panting and urination and forgetting to replenish that water can be deadly.

A cat's water needs are tied to how many kilocalories of food consumed in a day. Cats also lose water through respiration and what they do in the litter box, so make sure to keep water available at all times.

For the pets who live in small enclosures, such as rabbits and hamsters, water is still a necessity. Bunnies need anywhere from 50 to 150 milliliters of water for every two pounds of body weight. They also are hypersensitive to heat and will actually stop drinking water (not because they don't need it!) if the temperature gets too high. As for hamsters, these little creatures make up for their lack of outdoor running with their trips around a wheel. Reward them with fresh water all day long.

If you don't give your pets enough water, you'll notice some tell-tale signs of dehydration:

  • Sluggish behavior
  • Sunken eyes
  • No interest in food
  • Dry mouth
  • Low skin elasticity

Exercising your pet

No matter where your pets expend their energy, they should have water available to them. This requirement is easier to meet when you're indoors and near a water supply. Outdoor activity is where your pets can get into trouble.

Dogs are notoriously great outdoor exercise partners. Cycling, running, and swimming are just some of the activities you can enjoy with your dog. When your pup becomes your exercise partner, you should keep three red flags in mind.

  1. Sun exposure: Animals with light skin and thin hair have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. If you're going outside with your pet, go before 11 a.m. or after 3 p.m. to avoid the sun's strongest rays. You might also consider pet sunscreen or protective clothing.
  2. Heat exhaustion: All good things should be enjoyed in moderation. Bring a water bottle, a bowl, and possibly a fan if you plan on staying at the park for a long time on hot days. Your dog needs to cool off to avoid collapsing from excessive fatigue.
  3. Fatigue: Feeling tired after exercise is normal. In fact, it's ideal because it shows that you completed a solid workout. However, if your dog is panting hard, staggering, and refusing to follow you, it's time to go home because they have reached their limit.

Summer is meant for fun. Make sure the fun never stops for an emergency by paying attention to your pet's water intake and energy levels. They'll thank you for it with playfulness and plenty of slobbery kisses.

Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet's Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.