Hydration is so critical to all living things, and we know how essential it is to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Keeping pets well-hydrated is just as important for their health as it is for humans. Since we can’t simply tell our pets that they should be drinking more water, we as pet owners have to get creative to ensure they receive adequate hydration.
Why is keeping pets hydrated so important?
Dehydration causes a host of physiological issues, including urinary tract infections (especially common for cats), kidney problems, digestive issues, electrolyte imbalances, and more, as it affects every organ in the body. Sometimes behavioral issues like misuse of the litter box, or acting out of character, can simply be due to inadequate hydration.
Cats, in particular, are notorious for not drinking enough water, but dogs also can suffer from ongoing dehydration if they’re not taking in adequate moisture. This can be especially risky in hot and humid climates like ours. Raw and wet foods have a higher moisture content, so dogs who are on a kibble-only diet require extra hydration.
A bonus to adding moisture to a pet’s diet is that it decreases the amount of “inhaling” or “vacuuming” of food a pet can do, reducing your pet’s risk of health problems such as bloat, a life-threatening emergency seen most often in large dogs. If you have a speed-eating pet, adding moisture will help pump the brakes at meal time. On the opposite end of the spectrum, for pets that are extra finicky, or have dental issues making dry food hard to chew, adding delicious (pet specific – not made with garlic or onions) bone broth or goat milk can increase their interest in food overall.
How to increase moisture in a pet’s diet
The easiest way to add moisture is to put tasty liquids right on top of your pet’s usual food. Adding raw goat milk, or bone broth as a “gravy” on kibble, raw, freeze-dried, or even wet food is a great way to encourage pets to lap up every last drop of yummy liquid. Even a few extra ounces of moisture intake is beneficial for pets. Some pets will even accept plain ol’ water on their food, which is also a great way to increase moisture in their day. We carry a variety of pet-safe bone broths, goat milk, and other moisture-adding ingredients – check out our freezer or ask in store for options.
Consider upgrading from kibble
Wet food, raw frozen, or freeze-dried foods, which are rehydrated with water, pet-specific bone broth or goat milk, provide extra liquid intake to pets. Meat in the wild contains up to 70% moisture, which is why a pet eating a balanced diet with raw foods doesn’t need to drink as much. Ask us in store any time about making the switch to or incorporating more raw foods into your pet’s diet. We are always happy to chat about nutrition!
Do take care to make sure food that has added moisture is consumed within a couple of hours, as wet food spoils more quickly than dry food. Happy eating!