Higher summer temperatures might bring extended outdoor playtime for children and their pets. However, it can also bring increased risk for dehydration in dogs and cats. The veterinarians at the Balboa Veterinary Hospital of San Diego have decided to be proactive in warning pet owners about the dangers of pet dehydration and how you can prevent it.
"Dehydration is common among pets during the summer months," said Dr. Juan Pablo Romero, MVZ, Balboa Veterinary Hospital. "Animals, just like humans, require additional water intake during warmer weather in order to stay hydrated. In addition, due to increased outdoor activities, pets are at a greater risk for over-exertion, which elevates the risk for dehydration."
“Water makes up 80% of a dog's body,” continued Dr. Romero. “A drop in fluid levels can have a significant impact on an animal's overall health.”
Dehydration occurs when fluid levels drop below normal due to decreased water intake or increased fluid loss. Symptoms of dehydration include sunken eyes, lethargy, dry mouth, loss of appetite, and depression.
Dehydrated pets are at greater risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Without veterinary intervention, heat stroke can be fatal for pets. The animal hospital is urging pet owners to keep pets hydrated, learn the warning signs of heat stroke, and to be vigilant about your pet’s overall health during hot weather.
"During the summer, dehydration can occur after outdoor activities, such as an afternoon playing on the beach in Coronado, a long run, or even a vigorous game of fetch," said Dr. Romero. "Pet owners need to be vigilant about not only providing water after outdoor activities, but managing their pet's level of exertion."
Dr. Romero says pet owners should provide pets with constant access to fresh water and change it regularly. If the pet will be outside for extended periods, the veterinarian recommends partially freezing its water bowl. As the day progresses, the water will melt, giving the animal constant access to fresh water.
During the summer months, Balboa Veterinary Hospital reports an increase in the number of pets who are dehydrated or suffering from heat exhaustion.
"Many of these cases could be prevented through vigilance and reduced outdoor activity," said Dr. Romero. "Pets can become dehydrated even on overcast days that are not 'hot'. Vigilance and early intervention are key to preventing more serious health problems."
Dr. Romero further advises that pet owners who suspect their pets are dehydrated should contact their veterinarian without delay.
The Balboa Veterinary Hospital is located at 7931 Balboa Avenue, San Diego, CA 92111 Telephone: 858-914-4802
The veterinary team provides comprehensive wellness care services, including vaccinations, annual exams, pet surgery, and dog grooming. The hospital is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Visit the Balboa Veterinary Hospital website to learn more.
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