Just like humans, it's important for dogs to stay hydrated while traveling, hiking, and even on shorter walks.
Body temperature and hydration are almost entirely separate issues in the canine world. For humans, they are closely intertwined; our primary mode of cooling ourselves down is by sweating, which requires adequate hydration. Dogs, however, have specifically evolved their fur coats to efficiently regulate their body temperature.
While dogs don’t lose quite as much water in maintaining homeostasis as us humans do, they do lose some water through panting. Panting applies the same basic principles of sweating: water on the dog’s tongue and through their respiratory tract cools them as it evaporates.
So, how much water should your dog be drinking to stay adequately hydrated? As a general rule of thumb, dogs require about 1 fluid ounce of water per pound of body weight. So, for example, a 70lb dog needs about 70oz (roughly 2 liters) of water during a normal day.
During strenuous activities and in warmer temperatures, they will need more water than usual, just like humans do. But be careful – if your dog overcompensates and drinks too much water at once, it could cause vomiting, or they could even become over-hydrated. Ideally, you should bring water with you while hiking, traveling, or even at the dog park, so your pup can have access to clean, fresh water throughout the day.
Dehydration presents a serious risk to your dog’s health. If you are concerned that your dog is dehydrated, you should seek veterinary care immediately. A good way to quickly check your dog's hydration level is to examine their gums: if they feel dry or sticky, your dog is likely not getting enough water. A dog’s gums should be wet to the touch to indicate proper hydration.
We hope this information gives you the confidence you need to enjoy the outdoors with your pup this summer. Cheers!
- The Puppernut Team