Dogs need water while hiking, especially in hot weather. How much water you bring depends on where you go, what you do, and how long you hike. You can either carry bottled water with you or give your dog filtered water.
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CLEAN WATER SOURCES
Don’t let your dog drink from a stream unless you treat it properly. Like humans, dogs are susceptible to water contaminants. Drinking salty water may lead to diarrhea and vomiting.
You’ll have to check with the area for known, reliable sources of water. If you are not sure about reliable water sources, bring your own water to be on the safe side. It also helps to store drinking water in your car for after your hike or for emergencies.
HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD YOU BRING?
As a general rule for a moderate 2 hour hike, plan to bring 32 oz. of water (16 oz per hour) for yourself and more for your dog. Considering that a dog needs about an ounce of water per pound weight per 2 hours, a 30 pound dog would need about the same amount as you. It never hurts to bring more water than you need, especially in hot or dry weather. Offer water to your dog frequently and let him take small sips
Every person and dog will differ in water needs. Use our guideline as a baseline, but it’s important to get a good estimate on how much you and your dog really need by going on a series of short hikes. Record how much water you and your dog consume every hour and under what conditions. By the time you go on a long hike or backpacking trip, you’ll have a good estimate for how much water you really need for you and your dog.
Be sure to read our articles regarding our top picks for water filters and water bottles that are suitable to use with your dog. Most will even fit in your dog’s backpack and can be shared with you. Or, you can always buy your dog his own filter or bottle!
We are not veterinarians or food nutritionists. We do provide some general tips that may apply universally, but every human and dog has different nutritional needs. Please consult your doctor and vet for information that pertains specifically to you and your dog.
Remember that dogs may actually ingest water if they are playing in water. Make sure play time is kept at about 15-30 minutes. Your dog may actually ingest a lot of water if they retrieve balls or sticks in the water. One way to reduce the amount of water your dog ingests during play is to toss him a flat toy instead a round toy which forces your dog to open their mouth more.
If your dog likes to play with the water hose, don’t spray water directly in your dog’s mouth. This can force your dog to guzzle up too much water.
It’s easy to tell if you are thirsty, but if your dog is not drinking enough water consistently on hikes, it could lead to diseases and serious health problems down the road. If your dog is sick or has a fever, he may also refuse to drink.
Signs of dehydration in dogs:
- Pale, Dry Gums
- Excessive Panting
- Sunken Eyes
- Loose Neck Skin That Doesn’t Retract Quickly After You Pinch It
Talk to your vet right away if your dog is dehydrated. You could wrap your dog up in a wet towel on your way to the vet. Consult your vet about giving your dog more water, as this could actually make him vomit.
Humans exhibit similar signs of dehydration as dogs. But a great indicator is dizziness, dry mouth, and sweating. You’ll also have darker urine if you are not drinking enough water.
Severe dehydration will result in low blood pressure, fever, delirium, and even loss of consciousness.
While you are out on the trail, don’t gulp down too much water all at once or this could lead to water intoxication, or when there’s too much water in the body and salt levels in your blood get dangerously and sometimes fatally low. One sure way to avoid water intoxication is to take small sips frequently instead of ingesting a lot of water all at once. Remember water play, as we mentioned above, can also make your dog ingest more water.
Signs for water intoxication for dogs:
- Loss of Coordination
- Dilated Pupils or Glazed Eyes
- Pale Gums
- Loss of Consciousness
- Difficulty Breathing
- Loss of Consciousness
If your dog has lost consciousness or is seizing call your vet immediately!
For humans, a sign of water intoxication is headaches, confusion, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. If you are experiencing leg cramping and have been sweating a lot, try adding salt in your water or eat something salty.
Marathon runners often carry salt packets with them. You could also take sports drinks, gels, or gummies that have electrolytes.
If you like gummy bears try Clif Shot Blocks*! They come in many different flavors and are compact enough to take with you on a run or outdoors. They also don’t taste grainy or sticky like other energy supplements. Each cube gives you a little boost of energy!
If you need to learn more about water intoxication in humans, Dr. Axe has a great article where you can learn more. One important tip they mention is that the risk of water intoxication increase is someone drinks more than 1.5 liters of water (over 50 ounces of water) in an hour.
Don’t give salt or electrolytes to your dog, without consulting your vet! Dogs don’t sweat out salt like us humans, but cool themselves off instead by panting and drinking water.
GETTING YOUR DOG TO DRINK MORE WATER
Water is important for everyone. If your dog is not drinking enough water on a consistent basis, check with your vet to rule out any diseases or maladies with your dog. These can be serious if not addressed.
Some tips to get your dog to drink more water:
- Give your dog a reason to drink! Do some exercise and play with your dog.
- Give your dog water every 15 minutes. Perhaps your constant nagging will remind him to drink!
- Add chicken, beef, or bone broth to your dog’s water.
- Always change out your dog’s water so it’s fresh and clean of bacteria or debris. Don’t forget to wash your dog bowl and get rid of any leftover residue and minerals.
- Train your dog to drink water. You can say “drink” or “water” and give him treats and/or praise every time he takes a sip.
- Sometimes dogs will try to drink less water if they can’t go outside to do their business. Take them out more to pee.
- Elevate your bowl. This is a better option for large dogs so they don’t have to stoop down to drink.
- Try changing dog bowls. Sometimes dogs just don’t like the container they are drinking from. We don’t have an exact answer to this. But it might work! Some dogs are just pickier than others.
- Buy a water fountain. Your dog may just to drink from a running water source.
A great choice is the Dogit Design Fresh & Clear Pet Fountain*. It’s on sale now at Amazon as of May 2018!
Don’t forget to buy extra filters* that go with it, currently an Add-On item at 45% off. This is a really great deal so we couldn’t help but share! Better take advantage of it now!
Leave a comment if there are any other important tips for our dogs! Did you or your dog ever have water intoxication or dehydration? Can you share your story with us? Leave a comment!
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