Why dehydration can shorten your dog’s lifespan
After many years of working with dogs and their people, one thing became very clear; As technologically advanced as modern medicine is, the most effective ways to keep your dog healthy are simple, such as maintaining optimal hydration. But then I got an email from Theo, my long-time client and friend, who wrote that she still sees thirsty dogs without water in backyards, in front of stores and in vehicles with the windows open. She asked me to use the power of my community to warn people about dehydration in hot weather and to remind them to make sure their dogs get enough water in the summer months.
The diversity of life forms on Earth is astonishing. Some organisms can live without oxygen, others will thrive in deep oceans in complete darkness or in the scorching heat of thermal vents. Despite this incredible diversity, no living organism can survive in the permanent absence of water. This simple bond of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom is a basic requirement for life, and even a mild case of chronic dehydration can mean the difference between your dog being healthy or sick.
Every second, 37 trillion chemical reactions take place in the body and without enough water these reactions come to a halt. Like other processes in nature, water is also an important part of cleaning and regeneration. Without water, the body cannot rid itself of toxins and minerals because they cannot be efficiently distributed in and out of the cells.
How dehydration taxes your dog’s kidneys
The kidneys can be thought of as the body’s water protector. If your dog doesn’t get enough water or eat dried food, this can put a lot of strain on the kidneys.
The outer part of the kidneys, the cortex, is rich in renal glomeruli, which are small blood filtration units. Each unit can be compared to a ‘yarn of blood vessels’ in a funnel that collects the so-called ‘primary urine’, the product of the first filtration step.
The second step of urine production occurs in the center of the kidneys, called the medulla, where a system of superfine tubes called renal tubules regulate the elimination and recycling of electrolytes and water.
When your dog is dehydrated or eats dry food, it puts extra strain on the renal tubules, which have to work extra hard to reabsorb water to prevent further dehydration. Logically, the harder the kidneys have to work, the more often they fail, because such a situation is unnatural.
Therefore, it is very important to provide your dog with enough clean, fresh and filtered water to maintain metabolic function and protect the kidneys.
The myth of distilled water
Some people mistakenly think that distilled water is the ultimate pure water. It is produced by boiling water and condensing the evaporated steam. The main problem is that distilled water does not contain natural minerals and drinking distilled water causes the body to lose cellular minerals and reduces electrolyte balance. According to a World Health Organization reportDemineralized water must be enriched with minerals to prevent serious health problems.
You may be wondering if reverse osmosis filters are better. Unfortunately, reverse osmosis removes minerals (in addition to harmful contaminants), leading to mineral depletion. On the other hand, highly efficient carbon filtration systems that do not use the principles of reverse osmosis are a good choice for your dog in today’s world.
Alkaline Water: Is It Good for Dogs?
The general understanding of human nutrition is that we should aim for a neutral or slightly alkaline pH in our blood and saliva. Some suggest alkalizing the body by drinking alkaline water. The market is flooded with alkalizing water filters, but I generally don’t recommend them for dogs, nor do I use them for my own water filtration. In my experience, alkaline water causes increased urine output, which can be a sign of kidney strain. When it comes to dogs, the optimal pH level of dog blood is slightly acidic and the ideal urine pH should be around 6 – 6.5. This is the main reason why I don’t recommend alkaline water for dogs.
A good mineral balance leads to better hydration
One of the least recognized conditions for optimal hydration is optimal levels of essential minerals in the body.
Based on thousands of dog hair samples measured for mineral deficiencies, we confirmed that all dogs that don’t get this don’t get this plant mineral supplements are inadequate. Intensive farming, overuse of the soil and the fact that most food and compost are not recycled back into the soil have caused permanent mineral depletion. This is why so many dog lovers see overwhelmingly positive changes after starting to care for their dogs GreenMinthe plant-based, mineral- and amino acid-rich superfood.
Besides the fact that vegetable minerals stimulate metabolism and provide building blocks that are essential for your dog’s health. Minerals also play a key role in maintaining optimal hydration. Think of a salt shaker; if you leave it in a humid environment, the salt inside will absorb water.
When it comes to your dog’s body, an adequate supply of minerals is essential for maintaining optimal hydration. Without enough minerals, the kidneys are forced to release more water in the form of urine to maintain the proper osmotic balance (the thickness of the blood), and that has to be precise. If the osmotic balance is disturbed by a low mineral-to-water ratio, the cells will swell and eventually die.
By adding broad spectrum, plant minerals food allows the body to retain more water to maintain optimal hydration, the most important condition for your dog’s health and longevity.
What is the optimal water intake for your dog?
An average dog should consume approximately 1/2 to 1 oz of water per lb (30-60 ml/kg) per day. However, this number is not absolute, as many external and internal conditions can dramatically change your dog’s water needs. Some examples include hot weather, vigorous water loss with exercise, and excessive water loss due to panting. Excessive drinking can be a sign of a medical problem, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or adrenal gland disease.
Cycling and running with dogs
These activities deserve special attention when it comes to hydration and water. Many people enjoy taking their dogs for a bike ride, but if you put yourself in your dog’s place by running after your cycling friends, you will find it very easy to measure the amount of effort your dog is putting in. needs to keep up. In fact, cycling with dogs is one of the most common causes of stubborn and difficult-to-treat dogs urinary incontinence in dogs. Jogging with dogs, on the other hand, is usually beneficial unless you are a long-distance marathoner or your dog is still growing.
Chunks as a major cause of dehydration
One of the most common causes of dehydration is kibble and other dehydrated foods. Dogs have evolved to eat primarily fresh, well-hydrated food. Dehydrated and processed foods absorb greater amounts of fluids from the stomach and intestines, naturally leading to a chronic state of dehydration and excessive kidney strain.
This is one reason why dogs fed kibble drink so much. Since proper hydration is key to good health and longevity, this is one of the most important reasons to keep your dog away from kibble. Dehydrated raw food that is rehydrated before feeding may be the only exception, but it is still less nutritionally valuable than raw food.
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Carry an insulated water bottle for you and your dog
Over the years I’ve come across a lot of water bottles for people and dogs, but many of them are made of plastic that leeches unwanted estrogen-like substances in the water. Personally, I like to use the Hydroflask brand because it is made of stainless steel, comes in a variety of sizes, and keeps your dog’s water cool all day long.
Do dogs need to be reminded to drink?
Personally, I think it’s a good idea to encourage your dog to drink. Just like us, dogs sometimes get busy and forget that they need to drink until they are very thirsty. When you see your dog drinking, you may be able to use the “water” or “drink” cue to teach your dog to drink on command.
Some people are still unaware that leaving a dog in the car, even with the windows open, can be unsafe or even life-threatening. Don’t be fooled by outside temperatures, as a car can turn into a deadly oven, even if the outside temperature doesn’t seem too bad.
Thank you for caring, reading and sharing this article.
This article may surprise you at how deeply your dog’s hydration relates to his or her health and longevity.
Remember that carry a bottle of fresh, cool water, feeding fresh food instead of kibble and making sure it includes your dog’s diet Full spectrum minerals can make a big difference in your dog’s health and longevity.
PS: One more thing! Make sure you clean your dog’s water bowl daily and put it in the dishwasher regularly to prevent bacterial growth and contamination.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM