Dog Hydration 101: Is my dog getting enough water?

Water is an essential ingredient for healthy pets–and humans; in today’s veterinary blog, how proper hydration can keep your pooch healthy, how much water is enough, and a few ideas to encourage your pets to drink up.

With the heat of the summer in full swing, one proactive veterinary tip that we repeat often is to ensure your pets have access to clean, cool water to help avoid heat-related injuries or ailments.

So, how do you know if your dog is drinking enough and well hydrated?

Water requirements for pets depend on several factors:

  • Size. Healthy dogs drink between ½ and 1 oz of water/per pound daily. For example, a 65-lb dog would need 33--65 ounces (¼ to ½ of a gallon).WestVet Pet Education blog: Keeping my dog hydrated and drinking water.
  • Diet. Dogs that eat a moisture-rich diet may meet some of their water intake needs through food, and therefore, drink a little less. Conversely, dogs that eat primarily dry food may require slightly more water.  
  • Age. Puppies require small amounts of water every few hours and close monitoring to encourage drinking it. Seniors dogs may need a little more, as well.
  • Activity level. Active dogs will need more water. If you’re out and about enjoying the Treasure Valley foothills with your pet, bring along a bowl and water and offer frequent short water breaks.
  • Weather conditions. On hot day dogs use water to stay cool. Offer plenty, in a few different areas around the home and yard.

How hydration keeps your dog healthy.

Similar to people, water offers multiple health benefits by:

  • Facilitating digestion and metabolic processes.
  • Transporting oxygen through a healthy blood flow.
  • Flushing out toxins from vital organs
  • Regulating body temperature (dogs pant to cool down, this process dispels water through their tongue)

Be aware, that upon occasion, certain illness could incite excessive thirst in your dog. Cushing’s disease, cancer, liver/kidney ailments are a few underlying health issues that affect a dog’s water intake. If you notice a significant change in your dog’s water consumption, a thorough exam by your family veterinarian can identify areas of concern.

If you have a “picky drinker” try adding a little broth to his/her water to make it tasty and appealing—just be sure to use a low sodium broth. WestVet Pet Education-- How do I know if my dog is getting enough water?Get creative! Offer the garden hose, a water bottle, or ice cubes to encourage your friend to drink up and stay hydrated.

Keep your canine companion (and yourself!) well-hydrated during these end of summer days. 


If you have concerns about your pet’s water intake, dehydration, or a sudden change in appetite/thirst it is always appropriate to see your family veterinarian; if your veterinarian is unavailable WestVet provides 24-hour emergency veterinary care to pets in the Treasure Valley.


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Boise dog restored to full activity following a leg amputation

The Idaho chocolate Labrador Retriever--minus one front leg--joyfully continues his love of water play, not slowed down a bit; in today's veterinary blog we were thrilled to share this video update from Atlen's person following successful treatment and surgery at WestVet.

When an owner faces a scary diagnosis for a pet, one concern is always a good quality of life. One Boise family faced that hurdle and they wondered, would a leg amputation slow down their beloved water-loving Chocolate ‎Lab‬?


Watch Atlen; 9 months post-op from a life-saving surgery from Dr. John Chandler--chasing the ball and swimming like a champ! Alten is an 8.5-year-old Chocolate Lab who saw two specialists at WestVet. Dr. Carrie Hume, a veterinary oncologist, and Dr. John Chandler, a veterinary surgeon.

 A priority of his treatment was to be pain-free and have a good quality of life. His person tells us that these goals were achieved! With continued exercise, good nutrition and regular veterinary care with his family vet, Atlen will have many more summers to play in the water!

It's always inspiring to see how pets strive to heal from ailments or injuries -- particularly when their people remain engaged and encouraging. We'll be looking forward to another video from Atlen.



Alten - Super Chocolate Lab on the GO! from WestVet Animal Emergency on Vimeo.

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After a successful pacemaker procedure, area Dachshund has new lease on life

Dr. Jason Arndt, Idaho’s only board certified veterinary cardiologist, performed a pacemaker surgery on a beloved pet, “Rosie,” who now has a great prognosis and can expect many more happy years with her family.

Both the length and quality of a dog’s life can be extended through cardiology specialty care—Dr. Jason Arndt performed a pacemaker procedure on Rosie, 6 -year-old Dachshuncdiagnostics and treatments similar to human medicine. Recently Dr. Arndt performed a pacemaker procedure for a beloved family pet:

Rosie is a 6-year-old Dachshund that presented for a very low heart rate (40 beats/minute); she was examined and this was determined to be due to a block in conduction in her heart (third-degree atrioventricular block).

This conduction problem is not responsive to medications, and if left untreated will lead to progressively lower heart rates, fainting, and a dramatically shortened lifespan. Using a device called fluoroscopy (a live time x-ray), we were able to place a permanent pacemaker into Rosie's heart and restore it to a normal heart rate of 100 beats per minute.

Assuming long-term success of the procedure, Rosie is now expected to live normally from this problem given the pacemaker can control her heart rate.

Your family veterinarian can refer you to Dr. Arndt for an echocardiogram and ECG. These are pain-free, nonintrusive means to diagnose cardiac diseases. If a pathologically slow heart rate is detected, additional diagnostics will ensure that your pet is a good candidate for pacemaker surgery.

The actual procedure takes 1-2 hours to complete.WestVet Dr. Jason Arndt performs successful pacemaker procedure on area pet For most dogs, a pacemaker is inserted through a small neck incision, then placed in position with the aid of fluoroscopy (continuous X-ray). Cats require abdominal placement due to the small size of their blood vessels.

Following the procedure, your pet will remain hospitalized at WestVet overnight to enable our team to provide continuous heart rate monitoring and to ensure proper function of the pacemaker. Most dogs go home the day after the procedure with instructions for post-operative care.

Your pet will see Dr. Arndt for a re-check appointment to evaluate pacemaker function and battery life about 4-6 weeks following placement and then every 6-12 months.

One of the real benefits of this surgery? Rosie, recovering from a successful pacemaker procedure with Dr. Jason ArndtThe majority of pacemaker patients do not require lifelong cardiac medications and once they are healed, are able to resume normal activity.


If you have concerns about your pet’s quality of life, stamina, or health it is always appropriate to see your family veterinarian; if your veterinarian is unavailable WestVet provides 24-hour emergency veterinary care to pets in the Treasure Valley.

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What to Expect if your Pet Needs a Root Canal

A pet’s fractured tooth may result in a referral to Dr. Kristin Walker, board certified veterinary dentist; in today’s blog the basics behind root canal therapy, why it’s a good treatment option, and what to expect on the day of surgery and for post-operative recovery.

We all know how painful tooth injuries can be; pets can experience the same discomfort from a broken tooth. Fractured teeth are a fairly common injury in pets, often caused by chewing on hard items such as bones, antlers, or hard plastic toys. What happens when a dog breaks a tooth -- when a root canal at the veterinary hospital is the best treatmentOccasionally, a traumatic accident can injure teeth. It's important to remember that most pets will not exhibit obvious signs of mouth discomfort -- their instinctive behavior is to hide pain or illness. 

When a tooth breaks, the deeper, porous layer (dentin) and oftentimes the nerve (pulp) become exposed, resulting in sensitivity and pain. When left untreated, infection of the jaw bone and swelling of the face can develop.

Root canal therapy serves as an excellent alternative to tooth extraction when a large, functionally important tooth is damaged. Your family veterinarian will work closely with Dr. Walker to determine if your pet is a good candidate.

Benefits of root canal therapy include:

  • preserving a strategic tooth
  • less post-operative pain than an extraction
  • an immediate return to normal activity

Consultation at WestVet. Upon referral, your first stop is an in-depth meeting with Dr. Walker. During this consultation, she will carefully exam your pet’s teeth and bite, explain the procedure in detail, and answer your questions. Procedures can often be scheduled for that same day, or another convenient time.

The day of the root canal procedure. Your pet will arrive early at WestVet where he/she will be placed under general anesthesia with careful monitoring by a dedicated veterinary nurse. Dental X-rays will be performed at this time.

Successful treatment requires specialized instruments and materials to disinfect, shape and fill the root canal. The procedure is finished with a white composite filling (similar to cavities in people!). In some instances, metal crowns can also be placed. Your pet will return home that same evening and quickly return to their normal routine by the following day.

Follow up appointments. Dr. Walker will determine the follow-up schedule for your pet, which will often include rechecking the tooth with dental X-rays.

The good news?If your dog has a broken tooth -- when to see the veterinary dentist at Westvet Root canal treatments are over 90 percent successful, meaning your pet’s oral health will soon be restored.



If you have any concerns about your pet’s dental health, whether or not you suspect a fractured tooth, it is always appropriate to consult with your family veterinarian right away. If your veterinarian is unavailable, WestVet is open and able to address your concerns 24 hours a day. 

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Fireworks and Pet Safety

Independence Day is usually not a day our pets enjoy celebrating, in today’s veterinary blog a few reminders for keeping pets calm, home, and safe during the big summer holiday.

July 4th can be downright terrifying for pets. Loud booms and bangs, bright lights, crowds of people—all of it could send your dog bolting out the door/back yard. In fact, animal shelters around the country report their kennels are filled to capacity in the days following Independence Day. Treasure Valley shelters are no different. Even worse, many pets are injured and require veterinary care.

A few suggestions to avoid lost friends:Keeping pets safe during fourth of july fireworks and celebrations

Exercise early. Provide an opportunity for your pet to burn off some energy to help them be more relaxed and ready to rest during the evening celebrations. It may prove challenging for Idaho dogs to enjoy a good walk due to the extreme heat we have been experiencing. If you can, exercise early in the morning when it’s still cool or find a way to play inside.

Keep pets indoors. Pets deal with the chaos best when kept safely in the house. A crate can add an additional level of security.  

White noise. Use music, television or a fan to disguise fireworks.

Offer a treat. A new chewy or interactive toy will keep attention focused on something fun.

Keep pet identification current. If pets get loose, current ID tags could provide a ticket for a quick reunion. Also, don’t forget to update microchip information if you’ve recently relocated or changed phone numbers.

Prepare for early (and late) fireworks. Neighbors may celebrate in the days leading up to the Fourth, as well as the days following.

If your pet goes missing.  Contact area shelters immediately and file a report. Also, check back often.

The IHS shelter will be closed on the 4th of July. If an emergency involving a pet such as an injured stray or dangerous animal arises, an animal control officer can be dispatched by calling the Ada County Sheriff Dispatch at 208.377.6790. 


WestVet does not take in stray or lost animals, we work with area shelters to reunite pets with their people. However, if your pet needs veterinary care and you veterinarian is unavailable, we are open and able to address your concerns 24 hours a day. and will be open and fully staffed throughout the weekend of the Fourth of July.

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