Pet owners in the UK lack basic knowledge about their animals’ hydration, a survey has found.
While 97 per cent of owners give their cats and dogs fresh water every day, but more than half (59 per cent) are unsure how much water is required to keep their animals cool and hydrated.
Nine in 10 of those surveyed said that despite the sporting summer ahead - with the Euros, Olympics and Wimbledon regularly on TV - their pets’ welfare would come first, vowing not to let distractions get in the way of meals, exercise and hydration.
However, the best way to achieve this was unclear in the minds of many, with almost a third admitting they couldn’t tell if an animal was dehydrated - 81 per cent thought that panting or sweating was a common symptom, and 30 per cent also believing that whining was a sign.
Symptoms of dehydration do include lethargy, sunken eyes, and loss of appetite and depression. Another telltale symptom is when pets’ gums lose moistness and become dry and sticky.
Angela Critchley of PetSafe said: “Even losing just 10% of the body’s water can have serious consequences for a dog or cat, so it is vital to ensure owners can pick up the signals quickly to avoid putting their pets at risk.
“If pets are not adequately hydrated they can not pant or sweat efficiently which means they can’t keep themselves cool and can overheat. The average Labrador weighing around 35kgs will need 2.45 litres of water a day to keep hydrated going down to 0.3 litres for your average cat. That’s several bowls for dogs and around 1.5 for cats depending on their weight – and regular water top ups are needed throughout the day”
She continued: “Simple measures such as leaving a number of water bowls in different areas in the house can help replenish hydration even if you’re not able to be in the home. If pets are outside it’s critical that they have access to shade and their water is kept in a cool place – remember some doghouses are not good shelter in the summer, as they can trap heat.”