Pet drinking water outside.

Blue Valley Animal Hospital knows that temperatures are on the rise here in Kansas. What better month for national Pet Hydration Awareness than July? Heat and dehydration are big enemies for our pet patients, but with some action on your part, we can all enjoy the summer together.

Why Pet Hydration Matters

When animals become dehydrated, trouble can certainly occur. Heat exhaustion is a common summer occurrence, especially when pets are kept outdoors or in hot spaces like vehicles for any length of time.

When proper pet hydration is not maintained, urinary issues, kidney problems, and gastrointestinal issues can ensue. 

A pet who is dehydrated may have symptoms such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Excessive panting
  • Dry gums or mouth
  • Sunken eyes
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased urination

You can get an idea about how hydrated your pet may be by observing the mucous membranes like the gums, which should be glossy and wet. If they become sticky or dull, your pet may be becoming dehydrated.

Likewise, the skin should be elastic and snap back into place when gently lifted. If your pet’s skin remains tented when you pinch it up, it may indicate a lack of hydration as well.

As the summer heats up, it becomes even more important that you work to maintain proper pet hydration.

Keeping Your Pet Hydrated

This summer do your part to keep your pet adequately hydrated. Be sure to:

  • Offer fresh, clean water at all times
  • Be sure that your water bowls are clean and free of bacteria
  • Consider a circulating water source such as a fountain
  • Limit periods where water is not available to prevent drinking from dirty water sources or overhydrating suddenly, which can result in electrolyte imbalances
  • Consider adding alternate sources of water such as canned food or fresh veggies where appropriate 
  • Offed water flavored with a little low sodium broth (always have a plain alternative as well)
  • Put ice cubes in outdoor water bowls to help them stay cool

If you suspect that your pet may be dehydrated, it is important for one of our veterinary team members to evaluate your pet right away. Heat stroke is a serious pet emergency and, if ignored, can result in progression to weakness, incoordination, seizures, coma, and even death. 
Being mindful of your fur coat-wearing counterpart and ensuring proper pet hydration is key to having a fun and safe summer. Please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns you might have. We are here to help you and your pets no matter what the season.