Sneaky Ways to Increase Your Dog’s Water Intake

Dogs need to drink plenty of water just like their human masters do. Water aids digestion, stabilizes body temperature, helps eliminate waste, and lubricates the joints. How much water is needed for good canine health? Veterinarians generally suggest dogs drink one ounce of water per pound each day. For example, a 40-pound dog would need to consume at least five cups of water. Water intake guidelines are even higher for dogs who are extremely active and live in hot climates. Young puppies might need as much as a cup of water every four hours.

Getting your dog to drink water can be a chore though. Many dogs aren’t drawn to their drinking bowls often. Taking a few licks of water here and there isn’t enough. Unfortunately, dogs can become dehydrated without ample bodily fluid. Dehydration is a serious concern for our furry companions too. Dehydrated dogs are sluggish and sallow. Dogs with dehydration may pant excessively, have dry noses and gums, or possibly vomit. Veterinary treatment with IV fluids is then imperative to avoid shock. Preventing dehydration in dogs is the best medicine. Always offer your dog access to fresh water. If they’re not taking the bait, here are five sneaky ways to entice your dog into drinking more water.

1. Give Your Pooch an Incentive

Your dog might need a bit of motivation to drink water. Sometimes, simple praise with a “good boy” and head pat will work. Other times, you’ll need to trick your dog with treats. Food-oriented dogs respond well when rewarded with treats. Train your dog to associate water with a quick bite to eat. Make your dog earn the reward by drinking a serving of water, not a few drops. Dogs soon learn to drink more water in hopes of scoring a snack. Be careful with food incentives though. You don’t want to overfeed your dog and cause weight gain. Pick a small, low-calorie option, such as training treats or plain Cheerios.

2. Make the Water Taste Better

Humans often struggle to chug down enough water because the taste is bland. Dogs have one-sixth of the taste buds that people do, but water is still pretty boring. Water is odorless, which doesn’t make it tempting to a dog’s strong nose either. Owners can improve their dog’s water intake by adding flavor. You might sneak in a tablespoon of low-sodium chicken or beef broth. Stir in some sugar-free peanut butter powder without xylitol. Mix in a few drops of lactose-free white milk. Perhaps infuse the water with fruits like apples or bananas. Avoid grapes and cherries that are toxic to dogs. If you’re concerned about pet allergies, simply add the juice from your dog’s canned food.

3. Add Water to Your Pup’s Meal

Watered down kibble doesn’t sound too pleasing to us. However, your dog will likely be too distracted by the meaty goodness to notice. Moistening dog food might make it more flavorful. Softer kibble could even help if your dog has dental health troubles. The bloated chunks of food will trick your dog into unknowingly drinking water. Pour your dog’s normal serving of kibble into a bowl. Mix in water and place it in the refrigerator. Let the kibble soak up the water for several hours until supper. If you use canned or raw food, the prep won’t take so long. You can add the water to soft dog foods right at feeding time.

4. Cool Down With Ice Cubes

Is your dog an avid chewer? Try trading a bone or your shoe for an ice cube. Frozen water still counts as water. Many dogs prefer munching on a solid ice cube than drinking a liquid. Ice cubes come with the added benefit of cooling dogs down. Crunching on an ice cube on a hot day or after vigorous exercise could prevent heat stroke. Simply fill a silicone ice tray with water and put it in the freezer. It’s best to pick a tray with small cubes to avoid hurting your dog’s teeth. Ice shavings would work if you’re worried about a choking hazard. Some pet owners also mix in low-sodium broth to make a tantalizing ice treat. Once frozen, pop the ice cube out and into Fido’s mouth.

5. Buy a Fun Drinking Fountain

Having a water bowl in every room can remind dogs to drink more often. Let’s admit that plain dishes with stagnant water aren’t that appealing though. Finicky drinkers might need to be persuaded more. Luckily, there are many automatic dog water bowl systems available. Dog water fountains provide a continuous supply of clean, cool water to slurp down. Running water may catch your dog’s attention and lure them in to drink. Most fountains have big reservoirs to keep water running whenever you’re away. Several models also feature water filters to remove debris and potential toxins. Search your pet store online for an affordable dog water fountain to keep your pet hydrated.

Remember too much of a good thing can be harmful. On the other end of the spectrum, too much water is also bad. Watch your dog’s water intake to prevent overhydration. Drinking more water than needed can poison your dog. Excessive amounts of water deplete the body of sodium and harm the kidneys. Look for overhydration warning signs, such as bloating, fatigue, and pale gums. Talk with a licensed veterinarian about the right amount of water for your dog. Finding the perfect balance of water intake and excretion is important for your dog to thrive. When needed, use the five tips above to trick any stubborn pups into drinking more water.

6 Ways To Help Your Chubby Dog Get More Exercise

6 Ways To Help Your Chubby Dog Get More Exercise

Obesity is a growing problem in the pet population. As in humans, that extra weight can mean a higher risk for a number of health problems. Pet owners can help by taking an active part in restricting the number of calories their dog consumes in the form of meals and treat. Exercise is another component that can help your dog lose weight. Here are six tips for increasing your dog’s exercise levels to help manage weight.

1 – Hiking with Your Dog
You can help your dog manage weight more effectively by increasing the amount of walking he or she does during the week. Choose a different environment that will spark new smelling opportunities and greater interest. Explore a neighborhood park or one of the paths of your local forest preserves for a new walking route. This will help exercise your dog’s brain, as well as his body. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water to share and a portable dog dish to allow your pet to replenish fluids.

2 – Resistance Walking
You can maximize the exercise from walking by adding a resistance component. The additional effort from walking in the snow, on sand, or in shallow water will help to increase the expenditure of energy and improve calorie burning. Your dog will get even more benefits from a walk-in these conditions.

3 – Indoor Play Times
Rainy days shouldn’t mean your dog doesn’t get an exercise session. Take the time to give your best buddy a workout with a tug-of-war session, indoor ball fetching, or a chase-me run around the house. Your dog will look forward to these indoor periods of fun and special attention.

4 – Doggie Day Care
If you’ve never tried doggie daycare for your pet, the idea may seem a bit strange. At these facilities, your dog can enjoy the company of other canines, along with focused attention and supervision by human caregivers. A couple of doggie daycare sessions per week can be a great way to keep your dog from snoozing the day away, which can increase the tendency to gain weight. Dog toys are provided, and the animals have a great time playing together. Be aware that there are strict “doggie etiquette” requirements at these facilities, and not every dog will be temperamentally suited to attend.

5 – Visit the Dog Park
Most communities around the country have set aside public park areas designated as “dog parks.” These enclosed areas can provide opportunities for socialization with other canines, play and exercise, as well as mental stimulation for your dog. However, not all dogs are suited for dog parks. Those animals that have been well socialized with other dogs and those of calm temperament will do well in this kind of environment. In addition, you should make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccinations to prevent infection from communicable diseases.

6 – Agility Courses
Active dogs can enjoy the mental and physical challenge of an at-home agility course. You can easily make a few course activities out of materials from your local home improvement store. The “obstacles” should be flexible enough to break down easily and avoid causing a hazard for your dog. Pieces of PVC piping makes a good material for creating a “jump” of graduated heights for your dog to master.

Cones or decorative Christmas candy canes made of flexible plastic make a good marker for “weaving” challenges. An expandable children’s play tunnel is a good crawling exercise. Walk your dog through the course slowly and gently introduce him to the actions he should perform. You can even set up a small agility course indoors to continue the training during inclement weather.

Helping your dog to lose weight generally means devoting a little more time and attention toward keeping him healthy. These six tips will ensure that your dog is engaged in active movement that helps to burn calories, improve muscle tone, and increase circulation for better health.

Holiday Dangers to Pets

Soon the holidays will be arriving. Along with the celebrations, delicious meals, and splendid decorations, there are inherent dangers to our pets in some of these things. For example, the rich foods that we so enjoy may cause gastrointestinal problems to our dogs and cats. Table scraps from Thanksgiving dinner may be too greasy for some or may contain turkey bones that could puncture an intestine. Best to avoid those pleading eyes, and provide safe treats instead.
At times our furry friends can be sneaky. I remember when one of my dogs saw a glass of rum punch sitting on a table. While I was out of the room, she decided to do a taste-test. Of course she loved it and kept sipping. She was a dog who suffered from pancreatitis. Needless to say, she experienced a bout from this experience.
Often we decorate our homes with lovely holiday plants. Some of these can be very toxic to dogs and cats. Poinsettias are frequently used as such an example, but in reality, it is their sap that is mildly toxic, not the flowers or leaves. On the other hand, mistletoe and holly can cause mild to severe issues if ingested. The holiday kits of amaryllis, daffodils, and members of the lily family are especially toxic to cats, with daffodils being bad for both dogs and cats. Even our Christmas trees can be a problem, not to mention tinsel and broken ornaments that may be attractive to pets.
For those who live up north with ice and snow, there are additional problems. The salt that is used to melt the ice and snow can be hurtful to paws, so best to check and clean paws after a walk on treated walkways. It is possible to purchase salt which is pet friendly. Another item that attracts pets is antifreeze that may have dripped out of car engines. This is very dangerous if consumed.
This is also the time of year in cold climates that people put out poison to get rid of mice. This is attractive to pets and can be fatal if ingested. I know of a size-able lab who got into this poison in his owner’s garage. Despite getting him to the vet, he did not survive. Such poison should best be secured in a metal box and placed safely out of reach.
This all sounds scary, but as responsible pet owners, we can avoid most of these dangers by being aware of the dangers and monitoring our pets.

Protect Your Pets from Fleas and Ticks in the Fall

Fleas and ticks are often seen as a summer problem, but both can show up all year round and it is just as important to keep your pets “visitor free” in the fall. In fact, early fall is one of the worst times for fleas.

Good flea and tick prevention is, thus, a year-round concern. One specific fall concern is leaf piles. Dogs (and cats that are allowed outdoor time) love to play in leaf piles. However, these piles can also be a haven for all kinds of insects, including fleas and ticks. It’s best to sweep them up right away and dispose of them properly. Other garden debris can also attract fleas and ticks. Ticks are also found in tall grasses, so keep mowing your lawn until the grass has become completely dormant. Also, remove dead annuals and other brush debris from around your home.

Throughout the fall, you should check your dog for signs of fleas such as obsessive scratching. The growth of the winter coat can provide a better environment for fleas to hide in. Regular brushing can help deal with fleas and also reduce the amount of itching caused by shedding. If your dog likes to sleep outside in the pleasant fall weather, then make sure to clean their “den” regularly. Remove food and water bowls after use, otherwise, they might attract raccoons and opossums. Wash pillows and upholstery regularly, and resist the temptation to boot an elderly couch out onto the porch for the dogs, as it is likely a perfect flea nest. Check for ticks as soon as the animal comes inside.

Don’t forget your indoor cat either. Indoor cats can get fleas as well, generally hitch-hiking in on other people’s clothes, your dog, or that mouse they helpfully killed for you.

Fall is a time when many owners think the risk of their pets getting fleas goes down. However, that is not necessarily the case. Flea and tick prevention is a year-round thing, and responsible owners make sure to keep their pets safe.

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