Do you love spending time outdoors with your furry friend?
If so, then it’s likely that at some point, you’ve thought about taking them on a hike. And while your pup might seem to have an endless supply of energy and never have any problems, there are many things you need to remember for this type of trip.
One of the most important things is making sure they stay well-hydrated throughout the hike, as there’s nothing worse than your four-legged friend becoming dehydrated and sick on what could have been a great day out.
How to Hydrate Your Dog While on the Trail
You obviously will need to bring plenty of water with you to make sure your pup has enough while on the trail. There are many different ways to carry water for your canine when out and about, from a simple collapsible bowl to bottles specially designed for dogs.
When it comes to giving them water, though, this can be trickier than you might think! Dogs aren’t always good at letting us know when they’re thirsty, and many will happily drink too much or not enough while on a hike, leading to health problems down the road.
So How Much Water Exactly Does Your Dog Need?
Well, it’s always good to keep in mind that dogs will need more hydration than usual when doing anything strenuous like hiking and running. Generally, dogs require about 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight, meaning a 40-pound dog would need about 40 ounces of water per day.
Of course, this isn’t to say that your pup should only drink a certain amount of water as per their body weight while on hikes! That is just a general guideline, and your canine will have different fluid needs from time to time, depending on the heat, altitude, and how steep or hard the terrain is to navigate.
And on longer days out on the trail, you’ll need to give them a little sip here and there, like every 15 minutes! In fact, it’s best to keep their hydration levels topped up by offering them small amounts of water frequently throughout the hike. While it might seem like overkill for such short periods, it will make sure they stay healthy and well-hydrated throughout your adventure together.
Also, you will want to avoid letting them drink too much as this could lead to problems like lethargy, loss of coordination, nausea, bloating, and dilated pupils.
One thing to note, though, offering your four-legged hiking companion fresh drinking water every 15 to 20 minutes isn’t enough during the summer months or when out on hotter days. You will have to take breaks at least once every hour and make sure to find a spot with shade to let them cool down.
Warning Signs Your Dog Needs Water
Although I’ve mentioned earlier that it’s best to let your dog drink every 15 to 20 minutes, knowing what signs to look for when it comes time to make a judgment call on whether or not they need water is also essential.
Some of the most common signs include:
- Excessive panting
- Loss of coordination
- Sunken eyes
- Dry nose
- Sticky gum
- Thick saliva
- Dark yellow urine
There are ways you can test for dehydration, such as pinching and pulling the skin away from their body and releasing it. If the skin doesn’t return to its original position within two seconds, then they’re most likely dehydrated.
Another method is to perform a capillary refill test. Just press on your dog’s gums for a second or two and release. If the color doesn’t return to normal within two seconds, then they may also be dehydrated.
How to Rehydrate a Dehydrated Dog
If your fido shows any of the signs mentioned above, you will need to take immediate action.
If your canine is mildly dehydrated, find a shady spot, take a rest, and get them to drink small amounts of water every few minutes until they recover. It’s important not to try giving them all the water in one giant serving, though, as this could lead to them vomiting or getting sick. Otherwise, you can also offer them an electrolyte solution to replace lost minerals.
However, if your pup is severely dehydrated, you will need professional help from a vet straight away! I know this may seem obvious, but dehydration in dogs can be very dangerous and life-threatening if left untreated. So, please do not wait for it to get worse before seeking medical attention.
Be Careful With the Type of Water You Give Your Pup When on Hikes
Like humans, dogs can get sick from drinking dirty or contaminated water. And my rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t drink it, neither should your furry hiking buddy.
So I wouldn’t recommend letting your dog drink from rivers, streams, and lakes as there may be bacteria and giardia, which is spread through feces and can cause gastrointestinal problems like diarrheal diseases.
Another thing I also want to point out is that tap or unfiltered waters may also contain parasites, which can be harmful to your dog.
So, it’s best to use clean bottled water instead of letting them drink from any water source where you cannot be 100% sure there is no contamination. That way, there will be no risk of any parasites or bacteria getting into their system at all!
The Bottom Line
As you can see, it’s really easy to keep your dog hydrated while hiking. All you need is a little bit of preparation and some common sense.
Remember that they’ll be working harder than usual, so plan short breaks often, make sure you bring enough water for them, and let them drink at least every 15 to 20 minutes. If the weather is scorching hot, bring more water you think you’ll need.
And my last tip for you, consider getting your canine a doggie hiking backpack to let them carry some of their own water, food, and other necessary supplies. Not only can this help to take some of the load off of your shoulders, but it will also provide your four-legged friend with a sense of purpose, and they will surely be a lot happier!