We are talking about a vital element, an essential nutrient and in many cases the least taken into account in the nutrition of the dog.
A healthy animal has between 50% and 60% of its total weight in the form of water . Puppies can be up to 75% water in their total body weight.
Our pets must always have clean water at a comfortable temperature, neither hot nor cold. If we do not comply with these simple conditions, you will consume less than what would be appropriate to meet your needs. On the contrary, if the water is “just right”, the animal will drink the amount necessary for its maintenance.
An animal can survive after the loss of almost all of its glycogen. It can also develop almost all of its functions after the almost total loss of its stored fat and even survive if it suffers a loss of half of its proteins. But if our pet suffers a loss of 10% of the total water in his body, the damage caused will be serious. If the loss reaches 15%, death will be a sure fact.
The water contained in the organism of an animal is not constant since it enters through the drink or through the food, is created by metabolism and is eliminated.
We could distinguish two main types of water losses :
- Physiological : these are normal losses that are not related to pathologies or diseases. Within these physiological losses we will have:
- Pathological : are those losses that are produced by pathologies or diseases. Within these losses we will have:
- Urine: excessive elimination in certain diseases (diabetes, cystitis, pyometers …).
- Stools: excessive elimination in certain diseases (parvovirus, gastroenteritis …).
The excessive loss of water leads to a decrease in the elasticity of the animal’s skin that we can check if we pinch it. If after pinching the position of the pinched skin is maintained, the animal will be dehydrated. If after pinching the skin immediately returns to its position, the animal will be in a perfect state of hydration.
Finally, we must bear in mind in what conditions our pet may need more water consumption since this will avoid unpleasant surprises.
- Some animals have a habit of drinking more water than the rest without this having any pathological significance.
- Feeding “comfort food” can allow large variations in the amount of salt. Our animal will suffer these increases or decreases and will demonstrate it with a greater or lesser consumption of water. This is another good reason that should make us think about the exclusive use of commercial food for our pets.
- Increased water needs
- Physical exercise.
- Times of heat.
- Increased water losses
- Urinate in greater quantity and frequency.