Chapter 5: Water In, Water Out...Food In, Food Out
Your dog’s physical health doesn’t just depend on exercise: water and food are part of the bigger picture.
Just like humans, dogs must hydrate themselves regularly. But unlike humans, dogs can’t sweat to cool down the way we do. They can sweat a little through their paw pads, but their main method of ridding themselves of heat is by panting. So something that will help a dog avoid overheating is staying hydrated.
Taking Water With You
When you’re out for extended periods of time, take a water bottle and water wallet (collapsible dog bowl) with you. You can drink straight from the bottle, and pour water into the water wallet for your dog.
Your dog will need water breaks every fifteen to thirty minutes, depending on the weather and the intensity of the exercise that he or she is doing: the warmer the weather and the more intense the exercise, the more frequent the water breaks should be.
No Drinking From Puddles
Don’t allow your dog to drink water from puddles on the road. The water could be mixed with chemicals that have come out of cars, which are (obviously) not for consumption.
Puddles on the footpath are unlikely to be full of chemicals like those on the road, but you’re still better off bringing water with you to hydrate your dog. Stick to this rule: if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t let your dog drink it.
Water At Home
At home, it’s not a matter of giving your dog access to water (your dog should have that 24 hours a day), it’s about keeping the water fresh and the level consistently high.
After an intense exercise session, a very thirsty dog can polish off a lot of water in one go, so be sure your dog’s water bowl is:
Eventually the aforementioned water needs to exit the body, so no matter what type of exercise you’re doing, you must give your dog regular toilet breaks. Allow your dog to go to the toilet:
That’s just a general guideline - talk to your vet about what they recommend for your dog.
It’s common sense to not feed your dog (or yourself for that matter) a big meal before any kind of intense exercise.
The more intense the exercise, the less food should be in the stomach. So for on-lead walking, a full tummy is generally no problem. But for the rest of the techniques on this website, don’t give your dog big meals beforehand.
And, What Goes In, Must Come Out…So For Dog’s Sake, PICK UP!
Not picking up after your dog is lazy, thoughtless, and irresponsible. If you don’t enjoy stepping in dog poo, you shouldn’t leave your dog’s poo lying around for others to step in.
This means that you must take poo bags with you (any hole-free plastic bag will do) every time you leave the house with your dog. Furthermore, you must pick up after your dog every time, without fail. If not, you’re part of the problem. Instead, pick up, and be part of the solution.
Poo Pick Up 101
Below is the step-by-step of poo pick up. For the sake of ease I’m going to assume you’ll pick up poo with your right hand:
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.