The Importance of Water in a Dog's Health
Water - it is the most important beverage in a dog's diet mainly because it is a carrier of nutrients. Dogs have high water contents in their bodies. In the event that a dog fails to drink fresh water in the space of a few hours especially in hot weather, severe dehydration follows.
Why is water so important for dogs? The simple reason is that water is essential in the performance of virtually all of the body's functions from the digestion of the food consumed to the disposal of waste materials, toxins and other contaminants in the body. If water is totally absent from a dog's consumption even for just a few hours, its body starts to shut down until death is imminent.
In fact, such is the importance of water that a dog will survive for a few days even when half of its protein and all of its fat food sources are removed. But take away a dog's water source and its body will start the shutdown process in just a few hours of deprivation. So before you leave the house, always make sure that your dog has an adequate supply of water readily available such as in a big bowl.
How Much Water
The next question then is: How much water does a dog require to stay healthy? As with daily food intake, there are many factors to consider but the general rule is that your dog must drink at least 2.5 times the amount of water as the solid food it eats.
For example, if your dog eats a total of 2 pounds of commercial dog food a day, then its water intake should be 5 pounds of water. To be on the safe side, you must always make sure to provide easy access to a water source so that your dog can regulate his own consumption of water.
Furthermore, changes in the environment will necessitate corresponding changes in the amount of water provided to the dog. These changes usually involve hotter weather, greater levels of physical activity and lactation, all of which will require amounts of water two to three times higher than normal. The rule of thumb is that with increased physical demands comes increased need for water.
What Kind of Water
However, pet owners must be very careful about the source of water and the way it is offered to their dogs. Keep in mind that just because a dog is on the lower rung of the animal kingdom than the humans do not necessarily mean that pet owners can be lackadaisical about the quality of water given to their pets.
Take note of the following tips in ensuring that the water given is not only of the right quantity but of the right quality as well:
- Tap water is good for as long as it is suitable for human consumption (i.e., it must not be high in iron, nitrates and magnesium)
- Bottled water is an alternative
- Always clean the water bowl to keep away bacteria, germs and other harmful substances
Water is life. If you want a dog to be healthy, give it sufficient amounts of water to allow it to live a long life.
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