Hot Weather Help: Cat & Dog Dehydration
Hot Weather Help is back! Every dog parent expects her pet's drooly panting on a hot day, and every cat parent knows her feline can be finicky about drinking water. But in these hot Texas summers, how can we know when our pets are approaching dehydration?
Know what signs to watch for. Listed in approximate order of progression, symptoms of pet dehydration include:
- Excessive, dry panting
- General sluggishness
- Dry nose and mouth
- Dry, red eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of elasticity in the skin
What is dehydration?Dehydration is a lack of water in the body and occurs when fluid levels drop to less than normal. This can be caused by either reduced water intake or increased fluid loss.
What causes cat and dog dehydration?
Common causes of pet dehydration include being left without water for an extended period of time or playing hard without taking enough water breaks. While providing your pet access to clean water seems like Pet Parenting 101, it's not uncommon for a pet to be left outside and a parent forgets to refill the water bowl. It's an easy mistake, but in the summer heat, can have dangerous consequences.
Can all pets suffer from dehydration?Yes. Any pet that lacks the proper amount of water in their system can become dehydrated. However, elderly, pregnant and nursing pets, as well as those with kidney disorders, diabetes, cancer or infectious diseases face an increased risk of dehydration.
What do I do if I think my pet is dehydrated?If your pet is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, it’s best to take him to the vet as soon as possible. If the situation necessitates, your vet can hook your pet up to an IV and rehydrate him quickly and safely. A vet can also evaluate whether the dehydration is the sign of more serious, underlying issues.
How do I prevent dehydration in my pets?
Dehydration in pets is easy to prevent: Always provide fresh, clean water to pets, and frequently replace the water and clean the bowl to keep any funky bacteria at bay. If taking your pet on a trip or outdoor adventure, be sure to pack water and an extra bowl. Steer pets away from drinking in ponds, pools, or out of the toilet, as these can house bacteria and chemicals. It may also be helpful to provide multiple drinking stations in the home for easy access.
Cats are ancestrally desert animals, and can be a bit finicky when it comes to drinking a sufficient amount of water. To entice your cat to hydrate, it may help to use a stainless steel bowl, feed wet food like RAWZ or Kiwi Kitchens, and keep water at room temperature. Some cats are also drawn to the sound of flowing water, so water 'bowls' with a fountain feature are a helpful tool.
Heat stroke and dehydration in pets often go hand-in-hand. Read up on pet heat strokes and find other ways to prevent dehydration. Share your knowledge with fellow pet parents- what are some creative ways you keep your pet hydrated?
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