Water is the most important nutrient a dog’s body needs to function properly, constituting 70% of the animal’s body weight.
Unfortunately, being the most essential nutrient, it is the most forgotten both in daily life and when it comes to formulating a healthy diet for dogs.
First of all, it is of vital importance that they always have a bowl with fresh and clean water at their disposal, it must be renewed daily to avoid germ overgrowth or that the water evaporates due to the heat and our dog is unable to drink.
If we talk about the best known commercial dog food, i.e. feed, we should know that it is a dry food, cooked at very high temperatures. This is done in order to be able to store it at room temperature without the risk of contamination by pathogens. However, with this food, we must take into account that our dog is not acquiring the water that it would get from a fresh food (with 70% of water naturally present in its composition) such as meat, offal or vegetables.
Many dog moms and dads do not take into account this lack of daily water. If their body’s water needs are not met, our furry dog will live in a chronic dehydration. This will seriously damage his health and his kidneys will be the most affected, and he may develop a renal failure in the long term.
Water is lost through urine, panting, feces and wounds. In the case of feces, more water is lost if the dog’s diet contains a lot of fiber. In urine, more water is lost in cases of renal failure. If the animal lives in warm areas, water loss through panting is much greater than that of a dog living in cold climates.
In a healthy dog, all water losses should be compensated by another type of water intake, such as that coming from natural food.
If our dog suffers from any disease such as gastroenteritis, renal insufficiency, diabetes, hemorrhages, vomiting, etc., water loss will increase. In all these cases, the veterinarian’s intervention through fluid therapy will be necessary to ensure that liquids are replaced.
The amounts of water needed vary from animal to animal and depend on factors such as temperature, humidity, exercise, diet and physiological state.
Dogs that are fed feed diets will need to drink much more water than dogs consuming wet diets, such as BARF, canned or cooked dog food, which contain on average 70% water.
To reach these amounts, it will be much easier for the dog if it is fed with natural food, based on fresh food, so it will not need to drink so much water.
The body compensates for the lack of water by concentrating the urine so as not to lose so much liquid. This process can cause the formation of uroliths if crystals were already present, intoxication by minerals not excreted, infections, renal failure, digestive and skin problems, fatigue, constipation, etc.
The most visible symptoms of dehydration are: very dark and strong-smelling urine, dry muzzle and gums, sunken eyes, loss of skin elasticity, rapid breathing, tachycardia, tiredness and refusal to exercise/walk.
If we want to make sure that our dog ingests the amount of water it needs on a daily basis, we recommend switching to a natural and fresh dog food.
For any questions regarding water intake in dogs, the Bon Appetreat nutritionist team is at your disposal.
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