Keeping your pets hydrated is just as important as keeping your self hydrated. Like us, dog & cat bodies are made of mostly water and staying hydrated is crucial to their health. In general dogs should consume 1 oz of water for every pound of body weight. For cats, the general guideline is just under that – 3.5-4.5 oz per 5 lbs of body weight. However, the environment and weather (hello, Texas summer) can play a role in how much water they need to consume. Obviously providing fresh, clean water to your pets is the first step in keeping them hydrated, but there are some other things you can do to increase their water intake:
*Adding liquid toppers to their food like bone broth and/or goat milk
*Including raw food in their diet (most frozen varieties have quite a bit of moisture)
*Adding some canned food to their diet
Keeping horses hydrated in our crazy Texas summer heat can sometimes be difficult. An idle, 1,100-pound horse requires about 6.5 gallons of water a day, during normal conditions. Increased heat and/or exercise will increase their requirement. Signs of dehydration in horses include an elevated heart rate, change in gum color and feel, and decreased skin elasticity (when you pinch the skin on their neck it should snap back to normal in less than 2 seconds). To avoid dehydration, first and foremost, we need to be offering free-choice access to fresh, clean water (unless there is a specific medical issue dictating otherwise). Horses should also always have access to plain white salt. Make sure your buckets and troughs are clean and full, scrubbing and refilling them as needed. During extreme heat and intense exercise adding electrolytes to their water can help encourage them to drink and will help replenish electrolytes lost in sweat. When adding electrolytes, it is especially important to also offer clean water at the same time so they can maintain their sodium balance . Soaked products, like Hydration Hay, can also be helpful to encourage water intake, especially when traveling or offering water that may taste different than your horse is used to. Side note: Hydration Hay can also be used with over livestock.
When we talk about hydration for our lawns and gardens the focus is typically shifted toward ways to conserve water. This becomes especially important in years of drought, which we experience! You can begin your water conservation efforts in the design of your landscape. Planting native and adapted plants is a good place to start, as well as using a landscape designer or tool to help create a space that maximizes the use of water. Texas AgriLife Extension has a cool tool available on their Water University website. When it comes to maintaining your landscape efficient irrigation is important. It is also important to make sure you water at the right time of day (after 6 pm and before 10 am) and only when needed, not just because it’s your day to water. Drip irrigation systems and soaker hoses are more efficient than spray irrigation. Mulch can also be a great way to increase the water efficiency of your landscape by helping prevent evaporation. For more tips and information visit the Water University website.
Providing water sources for wild birds may not always be top of mind, but in addition to it being essential for their health water sources are good way to attract them to your yard. Natural water sources, especially in the summer, can be hard for birds to find. Providing water can also attract some birds that don’t eat seeds, so you probably wouldn’t see them otherwise. The best water sources for birds are shallow with a sloped edge and possibly some sand in the bottom to provide footing. Place the water feature in the shade (to slow evaporation) and near some trees or cover to provide protection for the birds. Adding some motion to the water with a water wiggler will not only help attract the birds but help keep it from turning into a mosquito breeding ground.