How much their dogs are drinking is something a lot of dog owners overlook. But they shouldn’t as it’s vitally important.
Making sure your dog is drinking enough, but not too much, improves their health and helps to stave off certain illnesses.
But the general thinking is as long as there’s water out for the dog, they’ll take care of themselves. There’s a few problems with this idea.
Some dogs are under-drinkers, some are over-drinkers, and in both cases this can lead to health issues.
Also, if your dog noticeably increases or decreases the amount of water they drink it’s usually a sign of an underlying health problem.
So it’s important you monitor your dogs water intake so you know they’re properly hydrated and can spot any drastic changes that could be a symptom signalling a visit to the vet is needed.
So how much water should your Labrador drink each day?
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How Much Water Your Labrador Should Drink Each Day
The general advice is that an average healthy dog should drink between 0.5 to 1 ounce of water each day for each pound of body weight.
So a 70 pound Labrador will drink between 35 and 70 ounces of water per day.
The factors that alter the amount between the upper and lower limits are:
- Their diet: Because a dog eating mainly wet canned food will require less water than a dog fed on dry kibble.
- The weather: If it’s a hot summers day, panting and sweating mean a dog will need to drink far more than on a cold winter morning.
- Activity levels: An active dog will perspire more than one that’s had a lazy day and needs to replace fluids lost through sweating. So of course they drink more. So if you take your dog on a 3 hour hike, make sure you increase their water intake when compared to a lazy day in front of the TV.
- Medical advice: Some illnesses and some medications will affect how much water your Labrador should drink each day. Your vet will advise you if you need to increase or lessen their water intake.
- Age and size: Obviously a larger dog requires more water than a smaller dog, and an adult dog needs more than a puppy. Sticking to the 0.5 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight should see you right. But make sure to spread this intake over the day, especially with a young puppy who aren’t able to monitor themselves until more mature. Don’t leave loads of water out for a puppy, they are very prone to over-drink not knowing any better.
Checking For Correct Hydration Levels
How do you check if your dog is dehydrated? Or even over-hydrated?
How To Check For Dehydration
The most popular method is to pinch the skin on your dog’s neck, stretch it up and outwards and then let it go and see how it reacts.
Well hydrated and healthy skin will very quickly snap back into position, exactly as it was before. But if your dog is dehydrated the skin will ease back gently and leave a little tent of skin.
This test works because the elasticity of skin decreases as it loses moisture. Dry skin remains wrinkled and doesn’t snap back when released.
A second method to check for dehydration is to check your dogs gums.
If you run your finger over their gum you should find it very wet. If it’s kind of sticky, or worse if it’s dry, then your dog is dehydrated.
You can also press your finger into their gum which forces the blood out making them appear white. Then when you release the pressure, the blood should come flooding back almost instantly. If it takes a few seconds, or remains a pale color, you need to get your dog to drink.
How to Check For Over-Hydration, That Your Dog Has Drunk Too Much Water
If your dog suddenly starts to drink a lot more and it cannot be explained with warmer weather or exercise, then it’s possible something could be wrong.
Excessive water intake on its own can cause problems such as lethargy and being sick. But even if things aren’t taken this far to excess, just an increase of intake could be a sign of diabetes, kidney or liver problems. It definitely shouldn’t be ignored.
Help! My Labrador Doesn’t Drink Enough Water!
First of all, have your vet give a full health check to make sure they aren’t ill. Some dogs just do under-drink, so they may otherwise be healthy but you should have them checked.
If you do have a genuine under-drinker, there’s a few things you can do to encourage them.
Praise and reward can often work wonders. So try training your dog to drink. Every time they get some water, use the cue word ‘drink’, and then praise and reward. It shouldn’t take long before you can use the cue word to get them to drink on command.
Sometimes flavoring the water can help. There are special sachets of meat flavorings you can buy from pet stores that motivate a dog to drink more as it’s tasty. These are known to work well.
If you feed your Lab dry food, consider switching to wet food as this will increase their water intake too.
Help! My Labrador Drinks Too Much Water!
Again, have your dog checked by a vet to make sure it isn’t due to illness.
If given the all clear, for dogs that drink too much, the cure is easier than for one who doesn’t drink enough.
While you can lead a dog to water but can’t make them drink, you can certainly take the water away to stop them bingeing on it.
So for an over-drinker, you simply ration what you give them. It does mean having to frequently put out small amounts, but it’s the best and simplest cure.
You could use an ‘automated feeder’ but fill with water instead to achieve the same effect while being more hands off.
Water is essential for life, and having the correct amount is vital for good health.
Whether drinking too much or too little, this really isn’t good.
Some dogs just do not monitor their intake well and need you to make sure they get enough or don’t over-indulge. And you should be mindful of their intake for getting it wrong can lead to health issues.
But also you should monitor what they drink because if it noticeably increases or decreases and cannot be explained with weather or exercise, there’s a very good chance it’s a symptom of an underlying disease and you need to take your lab to the vet.
Always make sure your dog gets plenty of clean, fresh water every day. Approximately 0.5 to 1 ounce per pound of body weight. And be alert to any changes with their intake and act upon it.
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