5 Simple Tips to Keep Your Family Hydrated
From your children, to man's best friend.
Keeping your family, your kids and even your furry friends hydrated year round is no easy feat.
For starters, a concerning number of children are not getting enough water in their diet. A Harvard study found that over half of the children they surveyed were not drinking enough water. In fact, NPR reports that up to 25 percent of children aged 6-19 “don’t drink any water as part of their fluid intake.”
Dehydration can also cause serious problems for our pets, too. Water makes up 80 percent of a dog’s body, and, as it is for all living creatures, serves to dissolves natural and unnatural substances, helps circulation, plus aids digestion and waste removal.
In fact, NPR reports that up to 25 percent of children aged 6-19 “don’t drink any water as part of their fluid intake.
As advocates for healthy drinking water, helping parents make sure their kids and pets are drinking enough throughout the day is an issue that’s near and dear to our hearts. Check out these tips and tricks that family’s around the U.S. can follow.
UNDERSTAND THE SYMPTOMS OF DEHYDRATION
In your pets, one way to detect dehydration is by gently lifting the skin on the back of your dog’s neck or between the shoulder blades—unless your dog is seriously overweight or very thin, it should immediately return to a normal position. If he is lacking in fluids, the lifted skin may not quickly return to normal. But the signs of dehydration are not always obvious. In dogs, the symptoms of dehydration range from:
- Sunken eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
In children, it’s typically much more obvious, with some added indicators. Symptoms of dehydration in kids can range from:
- Dry mouth
- Decreased urination
- Few or no tears when crying
A TOUCH OF IMAGINATION
If your pet is showing signs of dehydration, bring him or her to a vet immediately, as dehydration or disinterest in drinking water is oftentimes the sign of an illness.
For children, on the other hand, it tends to boil down to basic pickiness. Luckily, there are so many tricks to get them to drink more water if you only use a little dose of imagination. From young children to teenagers, sodas, fruit juices, and other sugary drinks are always an easier sell than water. Those drinks are also much more accessible and tend to have a high caloric content.
According to the Natural Nutrient Database, a regular 12 oz. can of soda has close to 9 teaspoons of added sugar. The American Heart Association “recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calories allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day or about 9 teaspoons.”
This recommendation is for adults – take a moment to imagine what type of impact that amount of sugar has on a child. We took some of these concerns to the people who know kids best—moms.
Kourtney B., a mother of two living in Utah, says, “I tell my daughter that ice cubes are magical and it makes her water magic princess water.”
THROW A WATER BOTTLE INTO THE MIX
Unlike our pets, the amount of water your kid needs to drink each day might vary by age. Children from 2-3 years old should drink at least 4 cups of water per day, 5 cups for those 4-9 years of age, and 7 cups or more for 9 years and older. The amounts of recommended water intake only increase through those teenage years and into adulthood.
So, how can you start getting your kids to crave water over those sugary substitutes? Lacey K., a Georgia mom of two says, “A cool water bottle helps! I also tell my kids when they ask for milk or juice that they first have to have a drink of water first.”
Leticia J., another mom said, “My kids love water over anything else. I got them water bottles just like mom and dad and they love them.” Water bottles come in all shapes and sizes, and they all have different features like insulation or a fun straw. It’s hard to decide which water bottle is the best choice – but any water bottle is a good step in the direction of hydration. Take a look at Aquasana’s breakdown of which water bottle is best here.
THROW YOUR DOG A BOWL
Provide clean water at all times, and change it frequently to ensure freshness. We recommend giving your pets filtered water because chlorine and contaminants aren’t healthy for any living being to drink on a frequent basis.
Here are a few additional ways to ensure your pet has access to clean, healthy water at all times:
- Wash your pet’s water bowl every day to prevent bacteria from forming.
- Monitor your dog’s water intake— a dog needs at least one ounce of water for each pound of body weight per day.
- If you notice your pet is drinking less than usual, check his mouth for sores or other foreign objects, such as burrs or sticks.
- Purchase a water bowl with a weighted bottom to prevent your dog from knocking it over.
- Bring extra water when you’re traveling or exercising with your dog.
- Avoid chaining a dog outside, since he may get tangled up, preventing him from accessing his water bowl.
- Keep your toilet lid closed to keep your dog out — toilet water can be a source of bacteria.
A PINCH OF FILTRATION FOR THE WIN
Maybe this doesn’t apply to your furry friends, but we know getting kids to drink water can be a challenge in itself – so any hydration is good hydration. However, if your family wants to take it a step further, filtered water is best for your kids, too. Public water fountains and water quality in schools is all dependent on the water systems that make water accessible to our children to drink. Sometimes, older waterways can have lead leaching pipes, as we’ve learned from Flint, MI. But Flint isn’t the only place where water is being affected before it ends up in our drinking glass.
Aquasana offers a few different filter bottles to rid your family’s water from those top contaminants. Each bottle removes over 99% of bacteria, lead, chlorine, cryptosporidium, and giardia from any tap water. The bottles come in glass, BPA free plastic, and there is even an insulated stainless-steel option to keep water cold for 24 hours. They come in fun colors too – so your child can pick their favorite.