To stay properly hydrated, your canine companions need to drink fluids throughout the day, along with their food. While most pups simply need some fresh clean water to quench their thirst, there are some types of liquids that you can substitute if your pooch is particularly parched and dehydrated. Keep in mind that young puppies, less than 4 weeks of age, need to drink their mother's milk or a canine milk replacement formula.
Pups who are too young to eat solid foods, namely those less than 4 weeks of age, need to nurse, undisturbed, from their mother. If for some reason Mom's unavailable, these little guys need to be fed a canine milk replacement formula, available in most pet supply or grocery stores. These formulations come either in powdered or canned form. While the canned version only needs to be warmed slightly before feeding it to your pup, the powdered one requires that you mix it according to the directions with cooled, boiled water. Feed formula or milk to nursing pups until they reach around 4 weeks of age, after which mix it with solid food for several weeks until they are completely weaned from it when they reach 6 to 8 weeks old.
Once weaned, pups need a constant supply of cool, fresh water to keep them hydrated. Your pooch's body is made up of 80 percent water, which is required for all of his bodily functions, including proper circulation and digestion, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Generally your pup needs around 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day, recommends petMD. Encourage your dog to drink plenty of water by changing it several times daily and wash the dish regularly to keep it it free of bacteria and dirt. A pet fountain continually circulates the water with a pump, oxygenating it and making it more appetizing for your pup to drink.
Other than water or formula, your pup really shouldn't drink other types of liquids, including sports drinks, coffee, tea and juice, which contain ingredients like sugar and caffeine. Such ingredients aren't very good for your pooch, according to WebMD. Your canine companions are also lactose intolerant, so giving them cow's milk can cause them stomach upset. If your pooch seems a bit dehydrated, you can safely give him some clear, unflavored infant electrolyte replacement solution; you can also mix this with powdered formula to help rehydrate puppies with diarrhea. To encourage your pup to drink a bit more water, mix a small amount of low-sodium beef or chicken broth into either his water or food.
Never give your pup drinks formulated for humans that contain sugar substitutes, especially xylitol. Xylitol dangerously lowers your dog's blood sugar level, causes liver disease and even interferes with his blood's ability to clot, according to the American Animal Hospital Association. If you suspect your pooch isn't drinking enough water and you see that his skin doesn't snap back when you gently pinch it between your fingers, contact your vet immediately. Dehydration is a serious medical emergency that is potentially fatal to your dog. For this reason, never restrict your dog's access to water unless instructed to for a medical reason by your vet. Provide him with clean water appropriate for you to drink, filtering it if necessary, but not flavored beverages that are designed for human consumption.
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.