IVORY COAT’S pet nutritionist explains why water is vital and what you can do to help your pet increase their daily intake.

WHY IS WATER INTAKE SO IMPORTANT?

Water is probably the most important of all nutrients as it is vital to the functioning of all living cells in the body! Water is required for removal of body wastes, metabolic processes, body temperature regulation, and the normal digestion, absorption, and transport of nutrients.

The body of cats and dogs are made up of approximately 70% water, and like us, dogs and cats lose water constantly. Therefore, an adequate daily supply of water is required to keep their bodies functioning at their best.

WHAT WATER SOURCES SHOULD I PROVIDE?

Sources of water for your pet include free water, water from food, or from within the body (metabolic water). Unfortunately, our pets cannot rely on metabolic water alone, as this source will only provide approximately 5% of daily water intake. Instead, pets need to voluntarily drink and eat high moisture foods to get a daily supply of water.

Being a good pet parent means providing a water source that is freely available to dogs and cats, allowing them to self-regulate their intake to meet their needs. This water should be clean and fresh. Fouled water is undrinkable and may cause illness in your pet. You may also like to try a water fountain in the home as some pets prefer drinking from moving water.

Another great source of water is food, particularly high moisture foods. Canned foods can contain up to 70% water, whereas dry foods tend to contain approximately 10% water. High moisture foods are a great way to give your pets a hidden water source, especially for cats and small dogs who may not like to drink water voluntarily. If you’re interested in trying a high moisture food, our new range of frozen individual portions are a great option for your pet.

Do not be concerned if you don’t see your pet drink much water if they are on a high moisture diet, as they will be getting their fill from their meal.

HOW MUCH WATER DOES MY PET NEED?

Some studies have shown the daily water intake for dogs and cats to be around 50-60ml per kg bodyweight per day. However, this is not a hard and fast rule as your pets’ water needs will depend on many factors including heat stress or increased exercise.

Dehydration can be a real concern for our pets. While most water loss in our pets is caused from respiration and removal of waste products (urine and faeces); vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, trauma, and heatstroke can all lead to dehydration.

A loss of 10-15% water can result in severe health consequences for our pets, including death. Signs of dehydration include a loss of elasticity of the skin where you pull up a loose fold of skin and it does not spring back to normal (known as tenting). If you are concerned in any way, please see your veterinarian.

WHAT IF MY PET’S WATER INTAKE CHANGES?

Drinking too much or too little can also be a sign of illness or disease. If you have noticed a change in your pets drinking habits, urination habits, body condition or are concerned that your pet is not getting enough water on a daily basis to maintain their health, then please consult your veterinarian.