How Much Water Should Your Dog Really Drink?

By Valdette Muller| June 4, 2018 | Blog

Have you ever wondered how much water your dog needs each day?

Do you assume that your dog will drink precisely the right amount it needs each day, if you give your dog free access to fresh/clean water?

It can be surprising for some dog owners to learn that their pet may be drinking too little or too much water on a daily basis.

It is important to monitor and know your dog’s water consumption. This will allow you know if your dog is getting enough, but not too much water everyday.

It is also important to note your dog’s water intake because a change in a normal intake could be a signal for an underlying health problem.

How much water per day?

This question depends on several factors, including your dog’s size, diet, age, activity level, and the time of year.

A good general rule, healthy dogs need between 15 and 30 ml of water per 450 grams of body weight each day, or about 2 times as much water as food every day.

Water intake will vary a little with the diet of your dog. If your dog is fed wet food regularly, they may feel the need to drink less, while dogs that are fed dry food or salty treats will drink more water and may seem to drink more than expected.

Puppies need to drink small amounts of water every couple of hours. This should be closely monitored and encouraged.

Why is water so important for my dog?

  • Water carries and distributes important nutrients into and out of the cells of the body.
  • It aids in the digestion of food and helps the body to absorb the nutrients.
  • Water also serves to cool the body down and works to maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Water lubricates and cushions joints and makes movement easier.
  • Aided by water, wastes are removed from the body through urination and bowel movements.


To check your dog for signs of dehydration, pick up a fold of loose skin over the top of the shoulder blades, pull it up gently and release it.

Watch for the skin to fall back into place. Under normal circumstances, the skin should quickly return to place without any hesitation. If dehydration is present, the skin will slowly return or may even stay up for a time before falling back into place.

Dehydrated pets will have:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Gums that appear dry, sticky or pale
  • Dry, sunken eye balls
  • Reduced energy levels and/or lethargy
  • Extreme panting
  • A drier nose then usual

If you are concerned that your dog is not getting enough water to maintain health, talk to your veterinarian for advice.

As mentioned earlier, every important body function requires water.

Organs will eventually become damaged without enough water.

If a water deficiency lasts for a long time, organs (such as kidneys, liver, etc.) will begin to shut down.

What if my dog is drinking to much water? (Polydipsia)

If your dog is drinking excessively (polydipsia) it is possible that they may be losing excess amounts of water for any of a number of reasons.

While a number of diseases can result in excess water intake and urine output, the most common of these diseases include kidney failure, diabetes mellitus and Cushing’s disease.

Psychogenic polydipsia is an uncommon cause of dogs drinking more then they should.

It is a behavioural condition with a physical manifestation of excess thirst.

Primary polydipsia is used to describe excessive water drinking that is not due to illness or psychosis: bored puppies or water loving breeds may start to drink more water occasionally or consistently. Sorting these out can be a real challenge for your veterinarian.

What to do if my dog is drinking too much water?

  • Never restrict access to water in an effort to reduce water intake. Restricting water may result in dehydration and fluid imbalances that will make conditions worse.
  • Never ignore the problem. The conditions that cause these changes are very serious and can be fatal.
  • Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Initially, your veterinarian will perform a number of blood and urine tests. Additional tests may be needed to further identify and regulate the underlining condition.
  • Familiarise yourself with the symptoms of water intoxication and monitor your dog’s appearance and behaviour when your dog plays in water.
  • If your dog enjoys being sprayed with water from the hose or sprinkler, you should monitor that activity as well, as water from a hose or sprinkler is under pressure, and you would be surprised how much your dog can swallow in a short amount of time.

If you find your dog is not drinking enough water and you need to encourage your dog to drink: Add yummy natural flavourings like a home made chicken or bone broth to your dog’s water to make it more tempting, or consider getting a pet drinking fountain as a further motivation.




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