water wisdom

It is an all too preventable tragedy in summer.   Taking a dog out and about on a hot day with too little water.  Leaving a pet outdoors without adequate shade and water.  Traveling in a car, even early in the day, then leaving it to go shopping or errands.   Heat stroke kills many dogs each year.  And it doesn’t have to be foolish people hiking in San Diego hills in July with their dog, armed only with an eight ounce water bottle.

Depending on the size, age, and health of your pet,  one ounce per pound, per day is the minimum water needed for a larger dog, with one and a half ounces per pound for smaller dogs.   Age and a dog’s health are also factors in how much water they need.  Dogs with shorter muzzles pugs and bulldogs, obese dogs and those with breathing issues are more susceptible.  But those taking an eighty-pound German Shepherd might need to carry a gallon of water or more just for their dog on an outing.   But even a Jack Russell terrier at 20 pounds may need more than a quart.    Since dogs pant to cool themselves,  the hotter the air, the less they can release internal body heat efficiently.   When your dog shows signs of heat stroke, the owner needs to act quickly to recognize and treat their canine companion.

In my region,  signs are out for most of the year at the base of some popular places for people and their pets, particularly Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego.   On a day where the thermometer hit 103 F (39.4 C) ,  these yellow signs warn people against hiking with their pets.   An offending pet owner will be cited and fined for ANIMAL ABUSE/ CRUELTY for neglecting the warnings.  No one wants to see their pet die of a totally preventable issue like heat stroke.  Sadly,  heat stroke is usually fatal in 50 percent of the cases. Many surviving dogs have neurological disorders as a result.

Read an excellent article Heat Stroke in Dogs is Worse Than You Think. Here’s What You Need to Know that provided the information for this post here

Featured image is from online local news report from last year.



  1. This is very helpful info which I am sharing with my sisters (who own two large and hairy dogs…) Interesting that “Dogs with shorter muzzles pugs and bulldogs, obese dogs and those with breathing issues are more susceptible.” Thank you for sharing! We are in the midst of a heat wave here in the Northeast USA…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad! I only had some common sense about water needs but now I have much better understanding. And I never thought that smaller dogs needed MORE water per pound of body weight….


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