As the weather heats up, we’re all reminded to make sure we drink enough water. That tip shouldn’t end at us, though. We should also keep this in mind for our pets! To drive the point home, July is National Pet Hydration Awareness Month. Signs of dehydration in pets include dry gums, low energy, loss of skin elasticity, vomiting, sunken eyes, and panting. To make sure your furry friends avoid these scary symptoms, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Hydration needs can vary a bit in dogs, but in general, they should drink at least an ounce of water for every pound of body weight each day. To get them there, they need plenty of fresh water available at all times. This includes having several bowls around the house to choose from, as well as water available on outdoor excursions and long car rides. It’s a good idea to refresh their water bowls at least daily and regularly clean them thoroughly. Depending on the dog, you may also have to experiment with different types of bowls before you find the one they like. There could be a material they prefer, or a particular size. They may also take a shine to free-flowing water in the form of a fountain.
Hydration can be boosted with food, as well. If your dog mostly lives on kibble, add some wet food to her diet. Water can also be mixed in with both dry and canned food. Fruits and veggies with high water content are a good treat option, too, just make sure you’re offering one of the human foods dogs can eat. You can make a dog-safe smoothie to really pamper your dog, who obviously deserves it!
Cats can get away with slightly less water than dogs, but they still need about four ounces per five pounds of body weight each day.
Some of the tips for dogs apply for their feline counterparts, too, including bringing water on long car journeys, introducing more wet food to their diet and adding some water to whichever food they eat, regularly refreshing and cleaning water bowls, and introducing a fountain if it gets them to drink more. Bowl placement is also a bit more specific with cats. You shouldn’t put water bowls near their litter box or boxed into a corner where your cat can’t survey its surroundings and feel safe.
Cats also enjoy a bit of tuna as a treat, so adding a touch of the water from a tuna can to your cat’s bowl may incline them to take a sip. You can also add cat-safe bone and meat broth to their food for some extra hydration. (Dogs may also appreciate this little treat, and both may appreciate it as a frozen option to enjoy on especially hot days.) Another cat favorite? Drinking water from a running tap.
Rabbits’ hydration needs are a bit more substantial than some of our other furry friends. Twenty-four hours without water will lead to serious consequences for bunnies, including death. In fact, they can consume anywhere from two to four times as much water as feed per day.
To encourage a little extra drinking, rub something sweet onto the spout of their bottle. For other hydration, treats of high-water content fruits and veggies are also helpful. Just make sure not to overdo it and that they’re safe for your pet.
Guinea pigs chug down some water, too, consuming at least three ounces per day.
Their hydration tips are similar to those of rabbits. Keep their water bowls and bottles squeaky clean and refresh their stores a few times each day, make sure their bottle’s spout is working throughout the day, and supplement their hydration with high-water content fruits and veggies that are appropriate for them. Keep an eye on their water systems to make sure they’re taking advantage of them, too, and whether they prefer the bottle or the bowl!
Horses, being much larger than the rest of the pets we’ve covered, drink just a smidge more water than the rest: Somewhere in the neighborhood of five to 15 gallons per day. If they’re a working horse, that could be higher. If your horse spends a lot of time outside the stable or drinks from the same troughs as other horses, it may be hard to keep an eye on their water consumption. There are two easy ways to check their hydration levels: Ensure their gums are moist, or check skin elasticity by pinching skin near the shoulder point and seeing if it bounces back quickly.
For horses, it’s important to ensure that they always have fresh water available and that their automatic water systems are working properly. When it’s colder, make sure they’re not frozen, either. These should all be checked multiple times per day. To keep water from getting too mucky and smelly, it’s recommended to only place a few days’ worth of water in troughs and gradually replenish. It may be a good idea to add a second trough in group settings, too, if a particular horse keeps chasing others away. When traveling, be sure you have sufficient water for the trip, as well.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.