Getting enough water

One of the priorities of space travellers is to discover whether the bodies in outer space have water. Indeed most animal, human and plant life depends on it. Even animals like camels have to take water on board to exist through long periods of drought.

We think of water in summer, but it is necessary throughout the year for drinking, cleaning, heating, transport... so many uses. Humans and animals can exist without food for a considerable time providing they have water.

Some years ago I was staying in Iran and shared a hotel with four American Army officers on loan to the Iranian Armed forces to teach survival techniques. I joked that they had chosen a good hotel to practise them; the food was dreadful. I moved on leaving them to put their theories into practice.

It is important to examine the source of water. Letting your dog drink from a stagnant pool or from a pool which has flowed from a stagnant source may mean it contains leaches, those horrid creatures which fasten onto the dog's mouth and suck blood.

A quick visit to your vet is essential. This is not a do-it-yourself challenge.

It is important to keep the water bowl for your pets always full and here is a great deceiver. Silver, shiny bowls look full when they are not. I have fallen for this deception more than once, I am sorry to say. Change the water regularly as pets can detect any slight impurity and keep the water away from the sun. It is a myth that pets like warm water but of course there is always the exception.

When travelling take some home water in a bottle with a bowl. Waters do vary in taste and pets love water which is from home.

If you come across a stray animal suffering from thirst give it water slowly even though it may want to gobble.

It is the same with food. I knew the lady who was the first female reporter into Belsen's concentration camp. Troops rushed to feed and water the emancipated prisoners. Evadne, a qualified nurse, restrained them and thereby saved many lives. A little at a time is sound advice.