Water is vital to maintaining your four-legged family member’s body and mind, but many dogs don’t get enough water, making dehydration a common and potentially dangerous condition. Keeping your four-legged family member hydrated helps them regulate their body temperature, keep their energy levels up, and recover from physical activity quicker. It allows vital organs to keep doing their job, promotes urinary tract health, supports digestion, and keeps their metabolism working properly.

Also, remember that dogs and humans do NOT have the same hydration and electrolyte needs. Dogs don’t sweat, they pant. That panting results in stored water leaving their body. With all that fur, it’s no wonder why dogs get overheated so much quicker than humans, especially when it’s hot out.

Here are some easy ways to keep them hydrated during the warm weather ahead.

Drinking Fountains

Both dogs and cats have an instinct to seek out running water, as, in nature, stagnant water may not be safe for consumption. Some pets won’t even consider drinking stagnant water unless it is necessary to survive. The recreation of nature that running water offers may also provide some mental stimulation for your dog, making the act of drinking an exciting activity!

A water fountain for your dog is a great way to ensure that they are drinking enough water, and because most water fountains on the market include a filter, it’s an easy way to ensure that the water they are getting is fresh, clean, and even better-tasting, by removing harsh minerals such as chlorine.

Upgrading to a fountain also means fewer trips to the faucet to refill water bowls and will keep water cooler than a simple bowl at room temperature. These fountains typically run very quietly and are available in a wide range of prices, sizes, materials, and colors; so you can find the perfect match for your home and your budget. As a bonus, they’re usually pretty easy to clean too!

dog drinking out of water fountain

Frozen Treats

Many dogs love licking and chomping ice cubes, so supplying frozen treats is always an easy, quick way to keep them hydrated (and occupied for a few minutes). Your pet will also see them as a reward, so they can also serve as healthy treats!

Frozen treats are also easy to make. Grab ice cube trays or silicone molds, mix or blend water with plain, unflavored Greek yogurt or plain, unflavored kefir, then add your pup’s favorite fruits or veggies. If you’ve got a peanut butter fan, consider lining the bottom of the tray or molds with unsalted peanut butter before pouring in the mixture. Whatever your pup’s preference, pop it in the freezer, and in just a few hours in the freezer, you will have a delicious, nutritious treat ready to go.

Just remember not to overdo it! Treats shouldn’t only account for 10% or less of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

dog looking at a frozen treat

Take Water Wherever You Go

Wherever you go, especially during the warmer months, it’s vital to keep a fresh source of clean water and a collapsible bowl hand for your canine companion. A good rule of thumb is that if YOU need to bring water, your dog will need water. So whether you’re taking a long hike, running errands, or simply taking your daily walk, if it’s hot enough that you need water, then they certainly need it too.

If your dog is involved in highly physical activities like running, swimming, hunting, dock-diving, or a play session at the dog park or with a four-legged friend, consider water breaks mandatory. Make sure your dog is taking timeouts during demanding activities. Water breaks will ensure they remain hydrated and avoid overexertion.

Remember, NEVER share your dog’s bowl with other dogs. It’s easy for a sick dog to transfer bacteria or viruses through water, which can end up in your dog picking up an unnecessary illness.

dog sitting in car ready for a trip

More Bowls

One bowl may not cut it for your pup, especially if you have multiple pets in the home. You will want to provide several bowls throughout your home, including one on each floor. In general, dogs won’t seek out water, so the more bowls you have around the home, the more likely your dog finds them, which increases their water intake.

Having multiple bowls in your home may also provide a good opportunity to see if your dog prefers a specific material. Some dogs can develop sensitivity to materials like plastic, and may even avoid drinking out of bowls made of the material altogether. 

Also, make sure to clean your dog’s bowls regularly. Dog bowls collect bacteria, such as e. coli, mold, and yeast, and your dog will be more likely to drink out of a bowl that doesn’t have trace scents of potentially hazardous bacteria. Consider elevated dog bowls to make water even more accessible!

dog drinking out of bowl

Add Water To Food

Whether your dog eats canned food, dry food, or raw food, adding a little water to their meals is always an option. You can even soak kibble in water if you keep it in your fridge! Adding a 1/8-1/4 cup of water to your dog’s food will also give them a break from the routine of dry kibble. Beyond that, it can improve the flavor of the food and benefit your pup’s urinary and digestive health.

If your dog doesn’t have any allergies, you may also consider mixing chicken broth in with their food. Not only will this promote hydration, but it will add a little extra flavor to their meals!

As always, check with your vet before adding something new to your pup’s diet.

dog waiting for dinner

Stay Vigilant

When keeping your dog hydrated, it’s also important to keep an eye out for signs of dehydration. These could include vomiting, loss of appetite, dry gums, excessive or ongoing panting, lethargy, and diarrhea. If you believe your dog is suffering from dehydration, it’s best to seek the attention of your veterinary provider as soon as possible.

If your dog is going to spend a lot of time in your yard this summer make sure to keep their clean water bowl inside the boundaries of your DogWatch® Hidden Fence!