|The Importance of Water|
|For Yourself, and for Your Pet|
You may already know by now that feeding your dogs and cats nutritious foods is very important for maintaining optimum health - you are what you eat, and so are your precious pets.
But did you know that there is something just as important as healthy food - perhaps even more important?
About 70% of our body is water. This very simple liquid is a vital part of our bodies. In an emergency, you might be able to live for a month without food. But without water, you couldn't last a week! But it's not just people - all living things (including your pets!) depend on water for survival.
Many people may think they know that water is important, but may not realize how many benefits drinking this seemingly boring substance brings both people and their companion animals. Here are just some of the critical functions water performs in our bodies:
And there are many other functions for water. Dr. Batmanghelidj, M.D, the author of "You're Not Sick, You're Thirsty! -- Water for Health, for Healing, for Life" gives as many as 46 reasons why your body needs water every day.
- Flushes wastes and toxins from the body
- Metabolizes stored fats
- Protects body cells from disease and viral infections
- Lubricates the spaces between joints
- Boosts the immune system
- Helps in the breakdown of foods into small particles
- Plays a vital role in controlling body temperature
- Transports various substances inside the body
- Helps to absorb important nutrients more smoothly
- Acts as a natural laxative
But what would happen in the event of a shortage of water in the body?
Human studies show that chronic dehydration produces various possible diseases in the long run, such as allergies, asthma, headaches, digestive problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, brain dysfunctions, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, and so on.
Dr. Batmanghelidj, M.D., illustrates the mechanism of dehydration in a very easy way:
"Imagine a juicy plum, picked from the tree and left exposed to the sun or wind -- it becomes a prune. The dehydration of the plum produces the shriveled interior and wrinkled skin that are typical of a drying fruit. Loss of water causes the internal and external structures of living things to change, be that dehydration in a fruit or in a person."
One interesting, thought-provoking thing that this doctor discusses regarding dehydration is that we do not usually realize our body is in need of water, because we do not feel "thirsty." This is particularly a problem as a person becomes older. We begin to lose the "sensation" of thirst. Instead, our body begins to show signs of dehydration in various other ways, depending on the predetermined physical conditions of the person involved.
Dr. Batmanghelidj, M.D., explains what is happening in the body when it becomes dehydrated for a prolonged period of time:
"When chronic dehydration begins to set in, up to a certain level the shutdown of water-dependent functions is silent because there is a reserve capacity for endurance. As time passes and the body becomes more and more dehydrated, however, a threshold is reached where the system becomes inadequate for the responsibilities thrust on one or another function of the body. Depending on the type of demand, the organ or organs in the firing line of activity begin to indicate their particular signal of inadequacy."
In other words, even in the case of serious dehydration, you may not notice symptoms until a very water-dependent body part becomes affected. By then, recovery may be much harder!
By the way, for those humans who think they're already drinking enough water daily, please keep in mind that coffee, tea, soda, and alcoholic drinks do not count as water intake. In fact, these beverages are diuretic - your body flushes more water out as a result of drinking them than it gains from the beverage itself! To be beneficial, the water must be pure.
At this point you may be thinking, "I thought this was a pet website!" It's true, so far we've been discussing dehydration in humans. But in the case of getting enough water, "Pets are people, too!" The function of water is so vital in human bodies for maintaining health that I feel sharing this information is important, particularly with those pet owners who are conscious of healthy and holistic living for both humans and animals.
Also, note that recent pet diseases such as allergies, digestive problems, arthritis, cancers, etc. often resemble similar conditions commonly found in humans.
Thus, if dehydration can produce all sorts of diseases in humans, then imagining dehydration could be one of many causes of these same kinds of diseases in pets is not difficult. In fact, insufficient water intake, in conjunction with poor-quality commercial dog and cat foods, may very well be a common factor in health problems found in pets - especially cats, who naturally drink little water.
So, please make sure your pets always have free access to fresh water (even more so if you use dry dog and cat foods) - water that is free from contaminations like chlorine, benzene, lead, mercury, cadmium, toluene, and such. These harmful chemicals only overburden your pets' bodies, which already have enough to do as they busily metabolize nutrients.
If you support a holistic approach for your pets' health, you might consider using filtered water, bottled water, or distilled water - depending on your preference - instead of tap water. This is a good way to easily reduce the contaminants your pets would be drinking otherwise.
Every animal is unique. Some animals drink more than others. Knowing how much water your dogs and cats drink daily, and monitoring their drinking habits, is very important. This way, you will quickly notice even a slight change in your cats' and dogs' physicial or mental condition, based on a sudden change of behavior.
Do you exercise daily, or travel long distances, with your dogs? When you take a break and feel like drinking some water for refreshment, please share some with your tail wagging friend! They are probably as thirsty as you are.
Are your cats finicky about drinking water? I have a small tip you might want to try: Warm the water in a bowl! Don't make it too hot - body temperature or lukewarm is good. Considering that true carnivores like cats usually consume "moisture" from the prey they hunt, prey that is freshly killed and still warm when the cat eats, then the possibility your cat may prefer a pool of sun-warmed standing water or perhaps the circulating water in a backyard fountain makes sense. Your cat may not "shun" the clean fresh water you provide if you warm it up before serving.
However you increase your pets water intake, always remember that dehydration is as serious a concern for your pets as it is for you. You may not be able to "make the horse drink" if you lead it to water, but you should try your best to make sure the water you do provide is pure, refreshing, and wholesome.
Special Note: Although every effort has been made to present healthy products and useful information to support your pets' health, the products and information contained within this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The contents of this site are not meant as a substitute for consultation with a trained veterinarian. If you are concerned about the health of your pets, you should ask your veterinarian for proper guidance suited to the specific condition of your pets. The owners of this website accept no liability for any consequences resulting from the use of products and/or information provided through this site. Please use your discretion when attending to your pets' health.