How much water your Chihuahua drinks and avoiding dog dehydration is an important factor in maintaining him healthy. Just as with humans, a dog’s body is mainly made up of water, and as a result, water is the most important nutrient for your Chi.
Your Chihuahua would be able to live without food, but depriving him of water would kill him. If he was to somehow lose half the fat and all the protein in his body, he would still be able to live. If however, he was to lose 1/10 of the water in his body, he would not be able to survive.
A lack of water and dog dehydration is dangerous to your Chihuahua’s diet in the following ways:
• Water is responsible for keeping normal body temperature.
• Water replaces body fluids which are secreted.
• Water is used to help digest and absorb nutrients.
• Water burns fuel, which is then converted to energy.
• Water is needed to regulate the acid levels in the blood.
• Water mixes different types of chemicals in the body once they have dissolved.
• Water carries nutrients to the cells and transfers toxic products from the cells to the organs for elimination. If water wasn’t present, the body would not be able to rid itself of the toxins.
So how much water does your Chihuahua need in its diet to avoid suffering from dog dehydration and other dog health problems? A fully grown dog will need to drink a minimum of 2 ml of water for every pound he weighs every day to be able to survive. (There are 30 ml of water in an ounce.) These 2 ml are the minimum required for the dog to produce urine, and without this, he will not be able to live. If the weather is hot, or if your Chi is sick with diarrhea and vomiting, it is vital that the fluids that he is losing are replaced.
This does not mean that you must just give your dog this minimum amount of water. Although it would enable him to survive for some time, eventually the water deficiency would make him weak, sick, and he would die.
Some dog owners leave the water bowl full all the time, thinking that their dog will drink either as little or as much as they need. Some dogs will do this without the need to monitor them however, some dogs will tend to either over or under drink, both of which can be problematic.
A dog which doesn’t drink enough may develop dog dehydration, organ failure, kidney stones and and other dog health problems which could eventually cause death. On the other hand, a dog which drinks too much can develop electrolyte imbalances and water toxicity (hyponatremia).
If you notice that your Chihuahua is urinating more than usual or over / under drinking, it may be the sign of underlying health issues. Excessive water drinking in dogs can indicate diabetes or a bladder infection, whereas under drinking can be a sign of pancreatitis. If you notice any of the above, ensure that you take your Chi to the vet as soon as possible.
An over hydrated dog will tend to vomit, and become lethargic or confused.
You can check for dehydration by taking hold of a piece of skin at the back of your dogs neck, stretching it, then letting it go. The skin on a dog that is properly hydrated will return back to place promptly, whereas the skin on a dehydrated dog will return slowly. Gums can also be an indicator of hydration. Sticky, dull gums indicate dehydration, where as slippery, wet gums indicate good health.
How much water your dog should drink will depend on several factors:
Age: A puppy willl need to be closely monitored and require roughly ½ a cup every 2 hours. Older dogs will tend to naturally monitor themselves.
Size: Healthy dogs will drink about ½ to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day.
Food: The type of food your dog eats will affect how much water he needs to drink. A dog on a dry food diet will require more water than a dog on a canned food diet.
Exercise: How much and the type of exercise your dog gets, will affect how much water he needs to drink. Ensure that you take water with you when you take your dog for exercise. After exercise, it may be an idea to give your dog a little water at a time and give your dog some ice cubes to prevent him from bloating.
Weather: The increase in heat will naturally lead to an increase in the chances of dog dehydration developing.
Medication: If your dog is taking any medication, you may need to increase or decrease its water intake. Ensure that you check with your vet.
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