Don’t Forget To Water Your Dog!

Trail running shoes, check.  Camelback filled with water, check.  Sunglasses, check. Fit bit, check. Dog, check. Oh, and don’t forget the collapsible water bowl.  It’s the beginning of October, but you can’t forget the water when you hit the trails.  You need it and your dog needs it.  We all know all too well how hot the Colorado sun can be.

If you feel hot, your dog is hotter.  If you are thirsty, your dog is thirstier.  Dogs are unable to sweat.  They have some sweat glands on their foot pads, but otherwise they depend on panting to cool their body.  This is less efficient than our cooling mechanisms.

When a dog becomes overheated, they can run into some health problems.  They can suffer from heat stroke.   Excessive dehydration can hurt their kidneys.  There are some dogs that can also sustain significant muscle damage.

When it comes to water, plain and fresh is best.   No additives.  No sports drinks.  Because they are not losing electrolytes through sweat, dogs do not benefit from ingesting electrolyte solutions.  It may be counter intuitive, but these drinks will dehydrate them more.  These solutions will attract more water into their intestinal tract and out of their tissues.

Depending on the day, you may want to stop every 20 minutes to pour some water into your collapsible bowl.  This may vary depending on your dog.  If your dog’s tongue is dragging on the ground, give him/her some water!  If you have a short-snouted dog, like a pug or a bulldog, be extra sensitive to their behavior and the temperature outside.  The respiratory anatomy of short-snouted dogs is markedly less efficient than dogs with longer noses.  Veterinarians see far more bulldogs and pugs for heat stroke than other breeds.

Off the trail, remember to always keep fresh water available for your dog in a CLEAN bowl.  When was the last time you cleaned you dog’s water bowl?  You may be surprised at the gunk that builds up on the sides of the water bowls that have not been cleaned.  This gunk is bacteria.  I like stainless steel or ceramic bowls over plastic bowls.  Bacteria love to live in the crevices of a plastic bowl.  This may lead to dermatitis around the mouth and nose.

We all know how important water is for all living things.  Don’t forget it when it comes to your dog!!  Next month, I will provide some tips about providing more water for your cats.

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