Wa-ter You Doing Today?
Regardless of breed, size or age, all cats and dogs are made up of approx. 60% water. Everything from cell walls to organ tissue and body fluid. To stay healthy, every living cell NEEDS water to function effectively and optimally.
Just how important is water?
According to Medical News Today, without food, the average human can survive for over 21 days. But only a maximum of 5 days without water.
Water is important for crucial bodily processes such as regulating temperature, transporting nutrients, flushing out waste, lubricating joints, etc.
Our furry companions are designed to get the majority of their much-needed moisture requirements from their diet. Ideally, a diet should be on average 70% moisture, mimicking their natural diet of whole prey. Comparatively, the average kibble diet (the most popular choice of pet food) is made up of only 8-12% moisture.
Our furry members do not drink enough water to supplement or meet their daily moisture needs through drinking alone.
Cats are more susceptible to dehydration as they lack the thirst drive that dogs have and are rarely seen standing by the water bowl lapping up water continuously.
Have you ever experienced a bout of headache and nausea after a particularly strenuous day in the hot sun? The amount of water lost during the time under the sun was not adequately replaced and as such, you experienced a low grade dehydration.
Our companions are constantly losing water, through urination, panting, breathing, elimination and evaporation through the feet and other body surfaces.
When you accompany that with a low moisture intake, their body is left in a state of mild constant dehydration. This can become stressful to their bodies, namely organs like the liver and kidney which require water to help filter and flush out harmful toxins.
On a moisture depleted diet, companions are also more susceptible to diseases such as urinary tract infections. (A urinary tract infection is an infection on any part of the urinary system.) With a moisture depleted diet, the frequency of urination is lowered. This can allow bacteria to build up in the body as the kidneys do not flush out the urinary system to rid the body of toxins as often.
Offer a moisture dense, species appropriate diet to your companion and help to avoid such problems.
How to tell if a diet provides enough moisture?
The simplest way is to take a look at the guaranteed analysis of each bag! Often you will see the moisture content listed either as a min. or max. value. Ideally, diets fed to our companions should mimic closely to their wild predecessors, ie 70%.
Ways to improve moisture intake?
Raw and even gently cooked meals are moisture dense with abundant amounts of bioavailable nutrients to help nourish your companion. Home prepared meals even have the added benefit of targeting specific nutrient requirements as you have complete control over which ingredients make up each meal.
Kibble diets often rely heavily on the use of starches and carbohydrates to form crunchy bites. Switching to a high quality, ideally human grade, canned food, will help your companion meet daily moisture requirements. Furthermore, our companions are carnivores and the decrease in carbohydrate content is simple an added bonus.
Adding homemade broths and/or stews to their main meal can also boost moisture content and offer an additional medley of nutrients. Avoid using onions and seasonings such as salt when preparing the broths.
Another moisture rich option is goat’s milk which is healthy for both cats and dogs, but remember to steer clear of pasteurized milk and opt for raw, unpasteurized milk to enjoy the full array of nutritional benefits.
Fresh food snacks such as raw (or gently cooked) meats, fruits and vegetables can be offered as a delightful treat or act as meal toppers to help meet daily moisture requirements.
We personally enjoy feeding fruits such as blueberries and oranges and offer frozen cubes of broth on warm days.
We can’t wait to see the creative ways everyone has to boost moisture content!
Until next time, keep your tails wagging.