1. Water


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What Dogs and Cats Need Every Day…

Access to Clean, Fresh Water at All Times

Dogs: 

Dogs need access to clean, fresh water at all times. How much water a dog drinks will depend on:

  • Size
  • Health
  • Activity level
  • Age and diet
  • Air temperature and humidity

Dogs must have constant, easy access to clean, fresh liquid water. Water should be changed every day in a clean container.  If the water is outdoors, a heated bowl may be necessary in the winter to ensure access to fresh liquid water.

Signs of dehydration in a dog include a dry nose, skin that is not elastic (stays wrinkled if you pinch the skin at the back of the neck) or gums that are dry. To check a dog’s gums, press your finger firmly on the gums until the gums become white. Release your finger and watch how quickly the gums become pink again. The gums of a well-hydrated dog will quickly return to pink, a sign that blood flows easily through the capillaries.

Too Much or Too Little Water? 

Like people, dogs need to drink more water when they exercise. A dog who runs or walks long distances needs an owner who brings along enough water for both their pet and themselves. 

Dogs who drink too much water might be suffering from an infection or disease. A dog that drinks too little water might also have an underlying illness, such as Parvo, a viral infection, or pancreatitis.

Dogs with abnormal water consumption (excess or suddenly reduced consumption) should be checked by a veterinarian for signs of illness. 

Dogs need water bowls that are full of fresh water and in a place that’s easy to reach.

What does the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s (CVMA) Code of Practice for Kennels say about water?

Clean, potable drinking water must be available indoors and outdoors at all times in clean containers. These containers should be cleaned and refilled at least once a day, and should be fixed in place to prevent accidental spillage.

Stainless steel food and water dishes allow for the most thorough removal of old food and water film.

If used, automatic watering systems should be checked daily to ensure that they are operating properly and that each animal is receiving its daily water requirement.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Code of Practice for Canadian Kennel Operations (3rd Edition, 2018) focuses on the care, management and breeding of dogs. The Code is voluntary. Although it sets out standards of care for those who are involved in the care of larger numbers of dogs in kennels, boarding and breeding establishments, it may also be used by individual dog owners and the general public.

Excerpts obtained from the Code of Practice for Kennel Operations (3rd Edition, 2018), Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.

Cats: 

Cats need access to clean, fresh water at all times. Cats are particularly sensitive to smells, so it is important to change a cat’s water often and to wash the water bowl every day to prevent bacteria from growing. 

How much water a cat drinks will depend on:

  • Size
  • Health
  • Activity level
  • Age and diet
  • Air temperature and humidity

Signs of dehydration in a cat include panting, dry mouth, loss of appetite, an elevated heart rate and less skin elasticity (stays wrinkled if you pinch the skin at the back of the neck).

Too Much or Too Little Water? 

Like people, cats need to drink more water in hot weather. Cats who drink too much water might be suffering from an infection or disease. 

If a cat doesn’t drink fresh, clean water that is easy to reach, there might be other things that are bothering the cat about the water. Some cats will only drink water from a certain type of bowl. In general, cats prefer ceramic dishes over plastics that hold odours or can cause cat acne. Some cats prefer ceramic dishes to metal dishes that have reflections. Some will only drink water from a dripping faucet in the bathtub. Others like the constantly moving water. Water fountains for cats keep the water moving constantly and also have a filter to keep the water clean. If changes in water consumption patterns occur, the cat should be taken to a veterinarian to check for signs of illness. Figuring out your cat’s preferences is important to ensure they are getting enough water! 

Cats need water bowls that are full of fresh water and in a place that’s easy to reach.

What does the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s (CVMA) Code of Practice for Catteries say about water?

“Cats must have continuous access to clean, palatable water. Food and water receptacles must be accessible to each individual and/or group of cats and should be located to prevent contamination by excreta.“

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations (1st Edition, 2009) focuses on the care, management and breeding of cats. The Code is voluntary. Although it sets out standards of care for those who are involved in the care of larger numbers of cats in kennels, boarding and breeding establishments, it may also be used by individual cat owners and the general public.

Excerpts from the Code of Practice for Cattery Operations (2009) by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association have been used with permission.

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