This article appears in Pets 2020 magazine.
Your dog’s hydration is just as at risk — if not more so — than your own. Your pet’s body is made up of 80% water, compared to 60% for humans.
So while you’re recovering from that four-mile hike, keep in mind that your dog is as well and needs just as much (or more) H2O as you do. Steve Mills of American Nutrition has a few ways to stay prepared.
1. Always carry water
The first and most straightforward way to prevent dog dehydration is to carry water. Everywhere. Bringing more than you think necessary can’t hurt. If you’re planning an outdoor activity for the day that involves a large amount of walking or exercising, keep in mind that dogs need a small amount of water every 15 minutes.
2. Use ice cubes as treats
For most dogs, their ears perk up upon hearing the word “treats.” Ice cubes are the perfect summertime snack to keep your dog hydrated and satisfied. When feeding your dog ice cubes, make sure you supervise. It’s never a good idea to give your pup multiple ice cubes — or any treat for that matter — all at the same time. Monitoring your dog while he or she cools off will help prevent them from eating too many at once and choking.
3. Know the signs of dehydration
Symptoms such as excessive drooling, panting, vomiting, loss of appetite and a dry nose can all be signs that your dog is dehydrated. While we can’t always prevent our dogs from getting sick, it’s essential we know the causes and symptoms so we can take preventative measures when possible. As always, taking your dog to the vet is the best option if you suspect any illness.
4. Keep up with grooming
Just as most humans get their hair cut in time for the summer heat, dogs should as well. If your dog has a thick coat of fur, grooming and brushing them regularly will help keep them refreshed. However, it’s crucial to maintain that grooming throughout the summer. Giving your dog a haircut in the early summer months but then forgetting to manage it will make the fur matted and block airflow.