Veterinary Blog

Pet Hydration 101: Why Hydration is Essential for Happy, Healthy Pets


Is your canine companion or feline friend drinking enough water? Dehydration is common among pets — particularly cats — especially during the scorching summer months. At Vedder Mountain Veterinary Clinic, we want to help you keep your beloved companion healthy and hydrated. That’s why we’d like to discuss the importance of pet hydration and the signs and dangers of dehydration. We’ll also share some clever tips to ensure your pet gets the water they need. Let’s dive in!

Why Does Hydration Matter for Your Pet?

Water is the foundation of life. Just like ours, pets’ bodies need water for several essential functions. From nutrition absorption and digestion to temperature regulation and organ function, proper hydration keeps your pet’s system running smoothly. Every vital bodily process requires water, so it is crucial to ensure your furry friend drinks enough of it.

Signs and Complications of Dehydration in Pets

Dehydration can have serious consequences for pets of all ages and health statuses. Here are some common signs to watch out for:

  • Dry mouth and gums: A dry, sticky tongue and gums are early indicators of dehydration.
  • Lethargy and reduced activity: If your normally energetic pet seems sluggish and disinterested in playtime, it could indicate dehydration.
  • Sunken eyes: Dehydration can cause your pet’s eyes to look sunken or have a “glazed-over” look.
  • Loss of skin elasticity: Gently pinch the skin on your pet’s back between the shoulder blades. If it doesn’t quickly snap back into place, it could be a sign of dehydration.
  • Reduced urination: Monitor your pet’s bathroom habits. A decrease in urine output or concentrated urine (dark yellow) can indicate dehydration.

A Note About Dehydration in Cats

Our feline companions deserve special attention when it comes to hydration. Many cats dislike water — especially still or standing water. As a result, dehydration is common among our feline friends. Additionally, some cats have a higher risk of developing urinary tract infections, which can further discourage them from drinking. Monitoring your cat’s water intake closely is crucial, especially during the summer.

Tips for Keeping Your Pet Hydrated

Now that you understand how important it is to keep your dog or cat hydrated, here are some practical tips to ensure your pet gets the water they need to beat the summer heat:

  • Fresh, clean water is key: This might seem obvious, but it’s worth emphasizing. Provide a constant supply of cool, fresh water. Change the water daily and clean the bowls to ensure they’re free of debris and film that can deter your pet from drinking.
  • Use multiple water bowls: Don’t limit your pet to one water bowl. Place multiple bowls throughout your house, especially in areas your pet frequents. This increases the accessibility of water and encourages them to drink more often.
  • Try a fountain: Some pets — especially cats — are drawn to the sound and movement of flowing water. Consider buying a water fountain to encourage your pet to drink more.
  • Offer wet food: Incorporating wet food into your pet’s diet can also contribute to their daily water intake since it contains more moisture than dry kibble.
  • Monitor water intake: Pay attention to how much water your pet drinks daily. A sudden decrease in water intake, especially during hot weather, could be a sign of dehydration or an underlying health issue. If you notice any significant changes in your pet’s water consumption, consult your veterinarian.

Beat the Heat with Confidence: Schedule an Appointment with a Vet in Chilliwack

Keeping your pet hydrated is just one aspect of responsible pet ownership. We’re passionate about your pet’s health and well-being at Vedder Mountain Veterinary Clinic. Request an appointment today to ensure they have a happy, healthy, and hydrated summer!

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