What’s the one nutrient a dog simply cannot live long without?
A nutrient so important and so vital that no dog could survive deprived of it for more than a few days before dying a painful death.
Is it protein? Fat? Or maybe some vitamin or mineral?
Well, surprisingly, it’s none of these.
Water — The Forgotten Nutrient
You see, water is probably the most overlooked canine nutrient your dog counts on you to provide.
I know. It’s difficult to think of water as a nutrient.
Yet it is. And compared to the other nutrient “families” — proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals — it’s unquestionably the most urgent.
Dogs need constant access to water. It’s the one nutrient that must be served “ad libitum”. That is, on demand and instantly available whenever a dog’s natural urge to drink calls for it.
That’s because water is forever being lost through the urine and feces.
Plus, since dogs can’t sweat to stay cool, they lose a lot of moisture through the cooling effect of evaporation as they breathe and pant to control body temperature.
And that brings me to my number one dog feeding pet peeve…
Canine Water Negligence
Water negligence is the dangerous practice of failing to provide adequate, fresh (uncontaminated) drinking water for every dog.
Unfortunately, this problem is far too common. That’s because most people are simply unaware they’re doing anything wrong.
For example, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken my family to the beach on a hot day… only to watch (in disbelief) as a dog pants in thirst… while her owner sits under an umbrella… sipping a cold drink!
Or that far more common habit of supplying water that’s been allowed to become dangerously polluted with germs from the dog’s own mouth.
This hazardous situation is caused by using too small a water bowl… or allowing the water volume in any container to become perilously low… thus “concentrating” the germ population to a recklessly high level.
By the way… this problem can be aggravated by forgetting to wipe away that slimy, germ-laden “biofilm” from inside the water bowl… at least once each day.
And tainted water can increase the risk of intestinal disease.
How to Avoid Dehydration and Disaease
So, follow these recommendations to ensure your dog stays adequately (and safely) hydrated at all times…
- Use an oversize bowl and fill it with fresh drinking water
- Change all water at least twice each day
- Wipe away any biofilm from inside the bowl
- Keep water bowls as clean as you keep your own dishware
- Never separate your dog from her drinking water at any time
- Carry fresh water and serving bowls with you when traveling
By the way, we regularly place Bailey’s and Molly’s food and water bowls in the dishwasher for a thorough scrubbing. They come out sparkling clean and ready to serve up a nutritious diet.
Why not give it a try?