IMPORTANCE OF WATER
The water content acquired from their food can make a significant difference. Dry food contains approximately 7% moisture where by feeding a raw meat diet may contain up to 75% moisture. Voluntary intake of water is an important mechanism that both dogs and cats have the ability to do. Dogs are better at this than cats. Diet type and composition can dramatically affect voluntary water intake. If fresh, palatable water is available and proper amounts of a well balanced diet are fed, most pets are able to accurately regulate water balance through voluntary intake of water.
In terms of survivability, water is the single most important nutrient for the body. Animals can live after losing almost all of their body fat and more than 50% of their protein, but a loss of only 10% of body water results in death. Body tissues comprise between 70% and 90% water. The presence of water within cells and in many tissues is essential for the occurrence of most metabolic processes and chemical reactions. In studies of digestion they find it extremely important to have water because it is necessary for hydrolysis, the splitting of large molecules into smaller molecules. The digestive enzymes are secreted in an aqueous solution.
The elimination process, or removing waste products from the kidneys, also requires a large amount of water, which acts as a solvent for toxic metabolites and a carrier medium. Daily water losses from urinary excretion accounts for the greatest volume of water loss in most animals. In dogs and cats water loss is important for the regulation of normal body temperature during hot weather. Panting substantially increases respiratory water loss and thus heat loss. Because of this, water losses from respiration and evaporation during hot weather can be very high in both dogs and cats. Consequently, daily water consumption must compensate for these continual fluid losses.
posted by Rob Mueller