How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water

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How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water

With this guide, solve your doubts about the hydration of dogs. Find out how much water they need a day, how they should drink, and many more tips

As in the case of humans, water is essential to maintain the good health of dogs. Your body needs water every day both to eliminate toxins and for your organs to function properly. In fact, about 70% of a dog’s body is made up of water. The problem is that dogs are not always able to drink all the water they need on their own.

In this guide we will discuss how much water dogs need to drink, what types of beverages they can and cannot drink, what are the best ways to get dogs to drink, and some more tips to help you keep your dog hydrated.

How do dogs drink?

Dogs have a curious way of drinking. Rather than drink water, it seems that they bite and swallow it quickly, splashing everywhere. However, that hectic way of hydrating has an explanation that looks great in slow motion.

Dogs curl their tongues into the water, pulling it out very quickly. With this gesture, they manage to lift a small portion of liquid that they catch by closing their jaw. By repeating this gesture a few times they get to drink enough to hydrate. Let’s see it in slow motion:

Now that we’ve seen how they drink, let’s answer another key question, how much water does a dog drink?

How Much Do Dogs Drink?

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water

The amount of water that dogs should drink is influenced by various factors such as weight, breed, physical activity, diet, or ambient temperature. However, to make a clearer reference you can use the weight. The approximate amount of water that a dog should drink is 60ml per 2.2 pounds of weight on average.

But this figure is just that, an approximate amount. During winter we can stick to it since our dogs do not perform as much physical activity or lose so much water. However, during summer it’s essential to control the needs of our dog to avoid heatstroke and dehydration. We could determine values ​​of 50 ml per 2.2 pounds per day in the winter and 80 ml per 2.2-pounds per day of water in the summer.

For example, a dog weighing 22 pounds and exercising frequently in summer (a couple of daily outings) will easily need between 800ml to a liter of water to replace the lost water.

Special mention should be made of competition dogs and hunting dogs. The latter, on many occasions, get so excited in a hunting drive that they forget to drink despite exerting great physical effort. Hunters need to keep this in mind to prevent their dog from getting Its heart rate up too high and quickly becoming dehydrated.

Let’s see what happens when dogs don’t drink enough water.

What If The Dog Doesn’t Drink?

The lack of hydration of our dog is quite a worrying problem. If we suspect that our dog does not drink enough for several days we should go to the vet, since this lack of desire to drink can be a symptom of a more serious disease.

Proper hydration of the animal is very important because the bodies of dogs can lose water quickly, so their health can be damaged very fast if the appropriate measures are not taken.

Symptoms of dehydration in dogs are as follows:

  • Apathy
  • Fast and labored breathing
  • Hollow eyes
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Urine that is too concentrated (with a very dark color)
  • Dry snout (this is one of the parts that can best indicate that our dog is dehydrated because it always tends to be wet )
  • Increased heart rate

How long can a dog go without drinking?

Like all living things, dogs need to drink water regularly to keep their bodies functioning properly. Therefore, it is not recommended that they go too many hours without drinking water, especially during hot seasons.

Although they can go several days without food in extraordinary cases if in 24 hours they have not ingested a drop of water, dogs can begin to dehydrate, so it is never advisable to go to that extreme.

Let’s see below what the consequences of poor hydration can be.

Problems Derived From Poor Hydration In Dogs

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water

As we said before, dogs that do not drink enough water are more likely to develop a disease. Many of these diseases can seriously complicate the health of the dog, so it should be put in the hands of a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Let’s see what are the main problems derived from poor hydration:

  • Liver problems: the liver is one of the most delicate organs and can be affected if our dog is severely dehydrated. Lack of water can alter the behavior of this organ and become a very serious problem.
  • Kidney problems: such as excessive concentration of the urine, the formation of stones in the kidneys, kidney failure, urinary tract problems, etc. They are quite common problems in dogs. Kidney problems are diseases that are sometimes difficult to detect and have a slow development, but they can cause our dog’s health to deteriorate if they are not treated in time.

There are also other diseases that are directly related to hydration in dogs since they are a direct cause or consequence of it.

We speak, for example, of intestinal problems that cause diarrhea or vomiting in our dog and, therefore, an excessive loss of water that must be compensated, in a similar way to what happens in humans.

The so-called gastric torsion could be included in this section of intestinal problems, although it`s not due to a lack of water but to an excess of water or food or a great physical activity after eating or drinking excessively. It could resemble a glut from a binge, and it`s advisable to go quickly to a vet.

Also other diseases such as cystitis, a disease of infectious origin that causes inflammation of the bladder of our animal, as well as difficulties in urinating, an incorrect functioning of the urinary system, and the possibility that the infection spreads to other organs if it is not about.

Ear infections ( otitis ) and eyes ( conjunctivitis, glaucomas ) can also lead to dehydration in our dog since these diseases produce abundant secretions and loss of fluids.

Diabetes is another common disease that affects dogs and produces what in medical terms is called polyuria and polydipsia.

As can be seen, these are very common diseases that have to do with hydration in dogs.

How To Know If Your Dog Is Drinking Enough Water?

Fortunately, the body of dogs is quite eloquent when it comes to determining if our animal is dehydrated. There are several tricks or steps to follow to check if our dog drinks enough water. They are as follows:

Dry gums: they are a part of our dog’s body that must always be wet. Therefore, if when checking their status we see that they are dry or sticky, our dog is dehydrated. Its color is also decisive. In a healthy dog, the gums are pink, while in dogs with a lack of water they can turn red or white.

Sunken eyes: it is another of the symptoms of dehydration.

Urine too concentrated: in dogs that lack water, the urine will be darker and its smell will be much stronger than usual.

The elasticity of the skin: In healthy dogs, if we gently pinch the skin on the back, it will quickly return to its normal appearance. Therefore, if we find that our dog’s skin takes time to return to its position, It`sbecause It`s dehydrated.

Blood supply: in dehydrated dogs, the blood circulates with greater difficulty. A good way to check for this problem is to gently squeeze Its gums with a finger. If the blood refills the area that we have pressed in a couple of seconds there is no problem. But if it takes longer, our dog may be dehydrated.

What Do I Do If My Dog Doesn’t Drink Enough Water?

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water

We have already discussed that dogs sometimes have a hard time drinking the water they need. This may be due to a disease they are suffering from or simply a lack of habit.

In any case, to correct this problem there are some tricks that we review below:

Add water to Its food: especially if it`s dry feed, which has a lower concentration of water than canned food.

Placing bowls throughout the house: it`s another good technique so that our dog ends up drinking in any corner. Sooner or later our dog will want to drink if It sees water everywhere.

Add flavor to water: there are aromas and flavors that can be added to the water that we put in our dog’s drinking bowl. They are sold in specialized stores and large supermarkets. Hydrating our pet will be more expensive, but it is a good way for It to acquire the taste for drinking regularly.

Know the tastes of our dog: There are dogs that like to drink from more complicated places than from a simple bowl. Some, for example, love fonts. Others like to get wet and drink from garden hoses or irrigation systems. If we discover that our dog is fond of this, getting It to drink water will be easier.

It`s is possible that our dog drinks enough water but ends up vomiting it. Let’s see what we should do in that case.

What Happens If Your Dog Vomits Water?

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water

Vomiting in dogs is a sporadic event that should not worry us if it does not include blood. Dogs can vomit from multiple causes such as having eaten too quickly or due to an allergic reaction to some food. It must be taken into account that processed foods, such as dog food, contain additives and preservatives that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other adverse reactions in our dogs.

Vomiting should worry us if it becomes a recurring thing. If our dog vomits regularly, it’s surely because It suffers from another problem more serious than a simple eating disorder.
The most common health problems associated with vomiting in dogs are stomach or gut problems, kidney infections, liver problems, and food allergies and intolerances.

If it’s observed that your dog vomits very often, it is necessary to go urgently to the veterinarian, since it can be a symptom of other diseases that usually attack dogs, such as ulcers, parvovirus, distemper, gastritis, pancreatitis, etc.

On the other hand, sporadically vomiting water can be a sign that the dog has drunk too much or too quickly. As we saw in the video at the beginning, dogs tend to drink in a hurry and sometimes this habit makes them want to vomit. It happens sometimes to humans and it can happen to our canine friends too.

However, if it’s not an isolated event and the dog continuously vomits water, it should be a veterinarian who clarifies what is happening to our pet.

Dogs And Cold Water

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water

There is a rumor on the Internet, almost a myth, that very cold water can cause adverse effects in dogs. It has even been associated with the dreaded gastric torsion (a condition that causes a bloating of the stomach that can cause the death of the dog).

But the truth is that many veterinarians have determined that giving cold water, even with ice cubes, to our dog does not have to be bad.

The problem lies in the sudden changes in the temperature of our dog, just as it can happen to humans when we drink very cold water directly from the refrigerator.

In very active dogs, cold water can cause vomiting and other reactions if the animal takes it very quickly after exercising or in extreme heat situations. The recommendation: mix cold water with warm water and make our dog drink little by little. It can be difficult at times, but it is the best way to prevent digestive problems.

Dogs And The Hot Water

A thirsty dog ​​will drink practically all types of water, regardless of its temperature. However, it is not recommended that they drink water that is too hot. Ideally, they should drink cool water, not too cold or too hot.

In addition, in hot water, it’s easier for microorganisms to appear that can damage the health of our dog.

Dogs and tap water

Is it dangerous for dogs to drink tap water? Well, it depends on the quality of the water. There are places where the tap water contains a huge amount of chlorine, lime, and other additives that, in the long run, can affect the kidneys of our dogs, just as it happens with people. However, there are other areas where tap water is clean and can be perfectly drunk by dogs.

Unfortunately, it is increasingly difficult to find quality public waters that do not affect the delicate organisms of our pets.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water

Dogs And Mineral Water

Mineral water is an alternative for those who consider that tap water can harm their dog’s health. Bottled water usually contains fewer minerals than tap water, so it is a priori much better for our dogs.

In fact, many people who live in areas with poor quality tap water give their pets mineral water. It may be more expensive, but it can prevent kidney disease and other similar problems more effectively.

The Best Water Fountains For Dogs

There are countless drinkers for dogs on the market with prices of all kinds. From traditional bowls to more sophisticated ones that have a motor.

Leaving aside the most basic bowls, there are drinkers that have a bottle incorporated, or a carafe in the case of larger dogs, with a dispenser. These drinkers make it easy for us to put their doses of water on our pet, although every so often we will have to replace the bottle or refill it.

But the most striking are, without a doubt, the electric motor drinkers that resemble a fountain, with their jets of water and their pump to raise the water. These drinkers or fountains for dogs have a great advantage in that they attract the attention of our dogs and encourage them to drink.

In addition, they usually have filters that purify the water before our dog drinks it and they have parts that can be easily washed in the dishwasher.

However, they also have some drawbacks that should be taken into account when buying them :

  • They all produce some noise. The constant work of the engine produces noises that vary depending on the brand and practically none escapes this detail that can be very annoying.
  • They require regular cleaning of the parts and filters to avoid the accumulation of lime and dirt. Most manufacturers recommend washing the dishes every week.
  • Plastic fountains can cause allergies. Although there are other materials with which sources of this type are made, such as ceramic or stainless steel, most are still plastic, a material that can cause problems in the health of our pet.
  • Its price. And more than its price, it is the expense to which we must commit to pay for the replacement of filters and other parts. A source of this type, in the long run, is quite expensive.
  • Electricity is not a good ally. The combination of electricity, water, and dogs can be a death trap for our pets.

Our advice is that you carefully monitor the quality guarantees of these products and make sure you very well what the particular characteristics of each source are. Knowing well and checking quality certifications can save you a good deal of upset.

In any case, you must take into account two characteristics so that the drinker is comfortable for your dog. On the one hand, it should be wide and deep enough so that It can drink in the way you saw in the video at the beginning. Dogs need a minimal amount of water to drink comfortably.

On the other hand, you should take into account that when drinking, your dog can splash around it, so you should place the drinker in a place with space, away from electrical appliances and other objects that should not get wet.

If you need a drinking fountain for your dog, these are some of our recommendations:

AmazonBasics Gravity Pet Food Feeder and Water Dispenser

Pet Fountain Cat Water Dispenser – Healthy and Hygienic Drinking Fountain 

Smart Cat Water Fountain, HoneyGuaridan Automatic Pet Fountain

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About Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

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