Making sure your pet is hydrated in the summer can take a lot of thought and preparation, especially if they’re a fan of outdoor play and exercise. Given the heatwave we're currently experiencing in the UK, it’s more important than ever to make sure your pets have easy access to plenty of sources of clean water and lots of shade to protect them from the sun.
Being dehydrated can be detrimental to your pet’s health, so it’s important to make yourself aware of some of the common symptoms of dehydration in cats and dogs. This includes things like vomiting, dry and sticky gums, loss of appetite, thick saliva and loss of skin elasticity.
But not to worry. There’s an easy fix to prevent your precious pup or cute kitty from suffering – preparation! Read on to find out some of our top tips for keeping your pet cool and hydrated this summer.
- Take a water bottle on walks
Whether it’s your daily walk around the block or somewhere further afield, making sure your dog stays hydrated on a walk is essential during the warmer months. Naturally, we can’t expect you to take a full dog bowl with you (and expect you not to spill!), so why not take a water bottle with you? Having a portable water source means that clean water is available for your pooch at any time, keeping them hydrated and not causing you too much hassle with extra weight or things to carry.
- Plan walks with shady spots
If you know your next walk will be a particularly long one, it’s a good idea to think about your dog’s needs ahead of the event. Make sure you choose a route with lots of shaded spots for breaks away from direct sunlight, and before you even leave home, check that the ground – particularly tarmac pavements – isn’t too hot for little paw pads. You could even have a look for some sun boots or shoes for your pet!
- Make sure your pet gets some R&R
Avoiding midday heat means your pet will stay cooler for longer. By doing less exercise and staying out of the sun, their bodies will sweat less and therefore conserve water, keeping them hydrated for longer. Additionally, making sure they have plenty of rest means they won’t overheat and become uncomfortable in the heat.
Think about how your pet is getting their exercise. For some dogs, anticipating a long walk when they’re already hot won’t sound appealing. Instead, try to introduce new games that allow them to get outside and do some exercise to expend their energy. Here are some activities to try:
- Hiding toys or treats around your garden and letting your pet go wild, having fun trying to sniff them out.
- Freezing snacks to offer them something different – fruits, like apples or watermelon, will offer a refreshingly cool snack in the heat.
- Ensure your pet has multiple water sources
For cats that roam where they like, it’s important to make sure they have full bowls with fresh, clean water in several places around the areas they most frequent, including the garden. What’s more, keeping your pets’ bowls squeaky clean will make rehydration seem all the more attractive. And, if you’re someone who likes longer walks or hikes, look into investing in a collapsible water bowl that you can take on journeys, and offer your pet some familiarity away from home.
Perhaps your pet requires something a little extra flashy to draw them to having some H2O? Our pet water fountains attract curious canines and fussy felines to moving water, where they’ll find a delightful hydration station. Here, they can take a break and rehydrate in a fun way!
- Remove the temptation of drinking unclean water
Back outdoors, try to clean any pools or puddles of stagnant water in your garden so your pet isn’t tempted into seeking refreshment from unclean water. We can’t blame them for drinking what’s right under their nose if it’s hot outside, so it’s a good idea to remove any sources of unsanitary water and stop them from being tempted to lap up a puddle.
Though great fun for a refreshing swim, lakes, ponds and streams may harbour dangerous parasites if ingested, so while out for a walk or on a day trip, don’t let your pet take a sip. Instead, try our earlier tip and take a portable water source with you.
- Make dry food more attractive
In terms of food, try adding water to dry kibble. This not only makes it more attractive to eat on a hot day, but also introduces a subtle touch of extra hydration. Offering them a new meal to eat will stimulate their senses, so they’re even more excited to tuck into their breakfast or dinner.
- Never leave your pet in a hot car
Lastly, an important reminder to never leave your pet in a parked car, especially on a hot day. Even with the window cracked open and a bowl of water inside, the temperature inside a car can climb rapidly and the air can quickly become humid and stuffy, preventing dogs from panting and leading to them quickly beginning to overheat – eventually leading to death. Instead, leave your pet at home and invest in a cat flap or dog door, so they can get outside when they please to stay cool.
Remember, a healthy water intake will vary between different animals of different sizes, and the temperature of each day. You can follow a rough guide to find out how much your pet should be drinking and take into consideration their individual needs – speaking to your vet will give you amazing personalised guidance, too!