How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?

Julia Henriques
how long can a dog go without water

Water is essential for life, and keeping your pup healthy and hydrated. Without water, your dog’s body can quickly become compromised. So, it’s important to know … how long can a dog go without water?

Keep reading and you’ll get the full scoop on just how long a dog can go without water … and what to do if you suspect your dog may be dehydrated.

But first, let’s get clear on how much water dogs should be drinking in the first place.

How Much Water Should A Dog Drink Daily?

The amount of water a dog needs to drink can vary depending on a few factors, such as their size, age, diet, and activity level. But as a general rule of thumb, dogs should drink about one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. 

So … if your dog weighs 50 pounds, she should drink around 50 ounces of water daily.

It’s also important to note that dogs who are pregnant, nursing, or living in hot or humid climates, will need more water than the average dog.

Other factors that can affect how long a dog can go without water include her age, diet, activity level, and overall health. Younger dogs, more active dogs, and dogs with certain health conditions may need more water than others.

Dogs On Dry Diets Need More Water

Dogs eating kibble, freeze dried or dehydrated foods also need more water compared to dogs eating moist foods like raw, cooked canned. If your dog eats a dry food, you can add water or broth to the food or make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water near his food bowl.

Dog owners often notice how much less water their dog drinks (and poops!) after switching to a raw diet. 

RELATED: How to make bone broth for dogs …

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?

Now, let’s get to the question at hand: how long can a dog go without water? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think, because it once again depends on various factors like the dog’s size, age, activity and overall health. 

However, as a general rule, a dog can go without water for about three to five days. 

Just remember: the longer a dog goes without water, the higher the risk of dehydration and other serious health issues.

What Happens If Your Dog Doesn’t Drink Enough Water?

Just like humans, when dogs don’t drink enough water, they get dehydrated. And dehydration is no joke for dogs. It can cause all kinds of serious health problems if it isn’t treated right away. 

If your dog becomes dehydrated, her body loses important fluids and electrolytes. This can cause all sorts of dehydration symptoms in dogs, like: 

  • Lethargy 
  • Sunken eyes (which can look really sad and worrisome)
  • Dry mouth (which can make it hard for her to eat or even breathe)
  • Dark urine (which is a clear sign your dog isn’t getting enough water)

If dehydration gets really bad, it can even cause kidney failure or death. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your dog drinks enough water every day.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Dehydrated

So how can you tell if your dog is getting enough water or not? 

We already covered how much water to give your dog daily, and a few common signs of dehydration in dogs. But if you want to check your pup for other dog dehydration symptoms, here’s a handy checklist you can use:

  1. Is your dog acting tired and listless? Dehydration can cause fatigue and weakness, as the body needs water to keep the blood flowing properly.
  1. Is your dog panting excessively, even when she’s not hot or active? Dogs pant to regulate their body temperature, and excessive panting can be a sign of dehydration.
  1. Check your dog’s mouth and gums. A healthy dog’s mouth should be moist, so if you notice it’s dry, or her gums are pale or feel sticky or tacky, your dog could be dehydrated.
  1. Is your dog refusing food or treats? Dehydration can make chewing and swallowing difficult, which may cause your dog to lose her appetite.
  1. Do your dog’s eyes look sunken or hollow? Severe dehydration can cause the muscles that hold the eyes in place to dry out, which may lead to sunken eyes.
  1. Try the skin test. Pinch a bit of skin on the back of your dog’s neck and release it. In a hydrated dog, the skin should flatten back out immediately. If it stays pinched or takes longer to flatten, your dog may be dehydrated.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to encourage your dog to drink more water. Contact your vet if the symptoms persist.

RELATED: What do pale gums in dogs mean?

Why Isn’t My Dog Drinking Enough Water?

If you’re racking your brain trying to figure out why your dog isn’t drinking water, don’t worry. It may not be your fault. There are several reasons why your dog might not be drinking enough water, and not all of them are in your direct control. 

Some of the most common reasons why dogs won’t drink water include:

Pain Or Illness

If your dog is feeling unwell or is in pain, she may not feel like drinking water. Certain illnesses or medications can also cause a decrease in thirst, leading to dehydration.

Water Preferences

Some dogs may prefer water from certain sources or containers, and may avoid drinking from others. Try offering your dog water in different containers or locations to see if this encourages her to drink more.

    Dental Issues

    Dental problems like gum disease or tooth decay can make it difficult for your dog to drink water comfortably. If you suspect dental issues, it’s important to take your dog to the vet.

      Anxiety Or Stress

      Dogs get stressed too! And dogs who are anxious or stressed may not feel like drinking water. This can be especially true if your dog is in a new environment or has experienced a traumatic event. This goes hand-in-hand with the next point…

        Change in Routine

        A change in your dog’s routine, such as a move to a new home or a change in her feeding schedule, can cause stress and lead to a decrease in water intake.

        If you notice that your dog isn’t drinking enough water, the best thing you can do is to try and identify the cause so you can take steps to encourage him to drink more.

        What To Do If Your Dog Isn’t Drinking Water

        If your dog isn’t drinking enough water, the first thing to do is to make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times. You can even try providing him with multiple sources of water in different locations throughout your home. Always give your dog filtered or spring water and not tap water that contains harmful chemicals like chlorine and fluoride.

        Make sure your dog’s water bowl is clean and free from debris, and refill it frequently.

        You can also try adding water to your dog’s food or provide her with low-sodium chicken broth to encourage her to drink more. You can add some broth to your dog’s water bowl or even something like the water from a can of tuna to entice her to drink.

        If your dog still isn’t drinking water, it’s likely she’s dealing with one of the issues we listed in the previous section. If it’s been more than 24-36 hours and your dog hasn’t had any water, it’s time to consult with your vet to rule out any underlying health issues.

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