Importance of hydration
Everyone is aware that staying well hydrated is critical to maintaining good health. All mammals rely on water to keep their bodies functioning properly. It helps with homeostasis (the regulation of our body’s internal environment), keeps joints lubricated, prevents infections, and even improves sleep quality and cognitive function.
Experts recommend drinking approximately 11-16 cups a day for an adult. However, the same cannot be said about our furkids. Water is just as important to them as it is to us, however, they do not require as much of it. For example, most healthy rabbits need an 50-100ml of fluid per kilogram of bodyweight, per day. This means that a 2.5kg rabbit would require around 200ml of water each day.
Signs of dehydration
Unfortunately, our furkids are unable to tell us when they are thirsty, but knowing the signs and symptoms can help with a quicker response. One of the telltale signs of dehydration would be a loss of skin elasticity. You can put this to test by gently holding the skin near your furkid’s shoulder blades and letting it go. If your furkid is well-hydrated, the skin should spring instantly back to its original position. However, if your furkid is dehydrated, the skin will take a longer time to fall back into place. Other common symptoms include a loss of appetite, lethargy, panting, dry nose and dry, sticky gums.
How to treat dehydration
The first step is to ensure that your furkid drinks plenty of fresh, cool water. After that, he or she will most likely need to have their electrolytes replaced. This can be done with American Pet CBBTM Electrolyte, which treats dehydration and quickly replaces fluids lost during diarrhoea or other stresses.
Other methods may include offering diluted Appelin or fruit juices to stimulate their interest to drink more. Some pawrents may also consider syringe feeding or changing the types of drinking bowls or water feeders.