During warmer months it's very important that dogs and cats stay properly hydrated. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to make sure your furry friend eats moist food.
There are many feeding options available, with raw food being the most nutritious and natural method. The moisture in raw frozen food is the water inherent in the food and as such provides the right food to water balance for easy digestion. Most raw frozen food such as Primal (available for dogs and cats) and Rad Cat (for cats) contains between 68% to 80% maximum moisture.
The next best option is to feed reconstituted freeze-dried or dehydrated food like Grandma Lucy’s (for dogs) or The Honest Kitchen (available for dogs and cats). There are now even more freeze-dried raw options. Orijen, Primal, Stella & Chewy's and Northwest Naturals have formulas available in convenient, shelf-stable, freeze-dried form. Just add water to any of these food, add a little extra when adding to kibble. You can easily add a little bit more water on really hot days to replenish the fluids lost to panting.
Canned food provides the most hydration. Most canned food contains between 75% and 85% maximum moisture. Food such as Wild Calling! are a pate style and have a lower moisture content (78% max.), while Evanger’s Hunks of Beef are in a broth base and are consequently on the higher end of the moisture scale.
Dry food (kibble) has only 10% maximum moisture. With its extremely low moisture content kibble can be challenging to digest. If you’ve ever cleaned up after a dog or cat who has been sick you’ve noticed that several hours after eating it the kibble doesn’t look much different than how it was in the bowl. The digestive system has to pull in moisture in order to digest the dry food. That can stress the body during warm weather. To ease the digestive stress you can add canned food, reconstituted freeze-dried or dehydrated food, or even water to kibble. Some dogs and cats do well with a combination of raw food and kibble, but if that combo is new for your pet, go slow at first. Remember though, if you’re adding raw to kibble or any other sort of food, you’ll need to add less kibble than you would feed for a regular serving.
To get the most nutrition from a meal be sure to include a fish oil like Nordic Naturals and high quality probiotics and enzymes — the kind you’ll find with Animal Essentials. The healthier your dog or cat is the more efficient his digestive system will be and the more hydrated he'll remain.
Always keep plenty of water out for your pets. If need be, change it throughout the day to keep it fresh. Water should be kept out of the sun to keep it cool and slow down bacterial growth caused by any food debris in the water.
Hydration through eating -- how easy is that!