Water Needs and Hydration for Cats and Dogs
- Brian M. Zanghi, PhD
- Nestlé Research Centre St. Louis
- A pet’s hydration status does not remain constant throughout the day, but instead fluctuates between hypo-hydration (dehydration) and hyper-hydration (over-hydration).
- In cats, the total water intake is higher when ingesting wet foods versus dry due to the moisture in the wet food. Cats drink more water when fed dry food because they self-regulate their water intake to meet their needs, but there is ongoing discussion around their optimal water intake and how we may influence it to improve health.
- There is no difference in total water intake associated with food type in dogs.
- In humans, as little as 2% dehydration can cause cognitive deficits. Therefore, our future research in our pets should consider how optimal hydration and daily water intake influences not only metabolic and urological health, but also obesity, brain health, and cognition.