Free access to clear drinking water helps prevent dehydration, the signs of which are dry skin that lacks elasticity when pinched, blood capillaries that do not fill up easily, a higher heart rate and high fever. Dogs and cats that are 10% dehydrated are more likely to die. It is important to monitor these animals’ water intake, especially when they are getting on in years. Increased intake can be a sign of diabetes mellitus or the start of kidney disease.
Water (H2O),the most well known of organic substances, is a major constituent of the animal’s body (75% at birth and 60% in adult age). It is the more important nutrient to life, in absolute and relative terms, participating in all major physiological functions. Body fat contains just 15% water, the skeleton 50%, muscles 75% and blood 83%. Cats have a reputation for drinking little, because they are able to concentrate their urine. But if that concentration is too high it heightens the risk of crystals and the formation of stones, so cats must be encouraged to drink.
Water has many essential roles for life:
There are three sources of water: