Hunting Dogs photo

Summer isn’t technically here yet, but the daytime high temperatures for my part of Oklahoma are beginning to approach cake-baking levels. That means all my dog training has shifted to an early-morning and late-evening schedule, for my comfort as well as the dogs’ safety.

Heat is a killer, so as you train your dogs in the summer months, make sure they stay cool and well-hydrated. How important is water? In terms of safety and health, a whole lot more important than food, actually. A dog can lose 50 percent of his muscle and body fat, but if that same dog loses 10 percent of his water, he can die. Eighty percent of a dog is water, so in an average 50-pound dog, fully 40 pounds of that is water.


Here are a few interesting canine hydration facts and watering tips I learned from an informative seminar at this year’s Pheasants Forever Pheasant Fest. The subject was canine hydration, given by Steve Ries of Native Performance Dog Food:

– An average 50lb. housedog needs about five cups of water a day, but with active dogs that jumps up to 12 cups.

– A housedog loses about 23 percent moisture from respiration and 70 percent from urine, while a hunting dog can lose up to 40 percent form respiration, five percent from feces and 55 percent from urine.
– A dog’s breath is six percent moisture, so hydration is just as important in winter as it is in summer.

– Clean, fresh potable water is a must. You create dehydration issues by not keeping your dog water bowls clean and algae-free.

– When hunting or training, make your dog drink water often even if he doesn’t act thirsty (click here for a neat trick on how to do this).

– Use a consistent source of water for your dogs. There can be large variations in water quality and potability from one place to another, so when you travel for hunting or training, take the water your dog is used to. to avoid any issues.

– Rest and recovery. It may sound obvious, but give your dog plenty of time to rest and cool down between periods of activity.