Is your pet’s health at risk in the summer?

It’s not only humans who are affected by the heat.


Your pets can feel the summer scorch too, making it even more important to protect their health during the season.

Is your pet receiving adequate nutrition? Are they staying hydrated?

The saying that ‘You are what you eat’ is applicable to pets too, and this mantra could keep them in tip-top shape during summer and beyond.

Food for thought

“How did we get to the point where we think that all it takes to feed our dogs and cats is the same scoop of dry pet food every single day?” asks Katherine Cebrowski, co-founder of UAE-based raw pet food company Furchild. “If kidney diseases and urinary tract issues are common problems in the UAE and our climate is hot and humid, does it make sense to feed a type of pet food that puts your pet’s body in a constant state of dehydration?

“Most manufactured ‘little round dry pellets’ contain nutrient poor, and/or inappropriate ingredients in addition to inadequate levels of moisture that do not support optimal health,” she continues.

“If you compare our dog’s and cat’s ancestral diet – what their ancestors ate in the wild – to ‘modern’ typical pet foods, the differences are startling. Our pet’s ancestors – wolves and wild cats – depended largely on high amounts of moisture found in their prey: fresh meat, organs and bone. The moisture levels of an ancestral diet were up to 78 percent moisture. That’s a lot! These days, dry pet foods contain five to ten percent moisture, canned foods 40 to 60 percent, and raw food 65 to 75 percent moisture.”


Staying hydrated

Keeping your pet’s body hydrated is important because moisture…

  • Maintains a stable, normal body temperature
  • Aids in digestion
  • Lubricates healthy joints – especially important for large breeds and senior dogs
  • Maintains healthy, functioning organs
  • Moderates hydration, which is very important in hot, humid climates like the UAE

“Animal’s digestion and urinary tract systems are a moisture-intensive process. From the saliva in their mouths and gastric juices in their digestive tract, a high amount of moisture is needed to properly digest foods and aid the flow through the urinary tract,” Katherine explains.

“When digesting an entirely dry diet, your pet’s body will pull the needed moisture from other tissues and organs if necessary, leaving little moisture available for flushing toxins and general hydration. A chronic state of dehydration can lead to health problems such as kidney issues, crystals and/or stones, feline lower urinary tract disease, bloating and more.”

You may think your pet won’t suffer from dehydration if you’re leaving it a bowl of fresh water every day, but as Katherine says, drinking water from a bowl just isn’t enough.

“Some pet parents think that soaking kibble in water before feeding will replace the moisture level found in fresh food diets, but this is not the case,” Katherine explains. “In order to get the kibble back to the level of moisture found in whole prey, approximately four cups of water would need to be added for every one cup of dog food. Depending on the quality of kibble, it may not actually soak up the water.

“Cats would need to drink over one cup of water for every ten pounds of body weight to adequately digest their dry food diet. Since cats are not inclined to drink as much water from a bowl as dogs due to their lower thirst levels, they depend on a high moisture diet more than dogs.”


Keep it fresh

So, how do we ensure our pets are consuming a healthy, nutritious meal and staying hydrated throughout the summer? In addition to controlling the air-conditioning in your home, feed your pet a species-appropriate, high moisture diet.

For adequate absorption and assimilation of ingredients, at least a portion of your pet’s meal should consist of at least 70 percent moisture and a high percentage of fresh ingredients such as raw foods – and always provide fresh water.

“As our own mother and grandparents would encourage us to eat a variety of fresh, healthy foods, we need to apply this common sense to pets,” Katherine stresses. “If cost is of concern, consider feeding 50 percent, or two meals a week, of fresh, species appropriate nutrition, as much as you can reasonably afford.”

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