How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water? (Be Careful Of Dehydration)

Last Updated on May 21, 2021 by adrienne hardwick

Water is central to our existence, but also to your dog’s. But how long can your dog go without water? 

Your dog can go up to three days without water, but dehydration can have devastating effects on their health and vital organs as well as prove fatal. It impacts every process in their body and if they survive being dehydrated, it can still leave lasting damage. 

Let us take you through how to ensure your dog remains happy and hydrated throughout the year. 

How Much Water Should Dogs Drink? 

Your dog should be drinking approximately 1-2ml of water per kilogram of body weight in a 24-hour period. So, you would expect a 10kg dog to be drinking around 480ml of water in a 24-hour period and a 20kg dog to be drinking 960ml, and so on. 

However, there are other reasons as to why they might be drinking more than usual, and this is why it’s important to have a full bowl of water available to them at all times. 

One of the most common reasons for drinking a lot is hot weather, it makes them thirsty just like us. Too much time spent lounging in the sun or a stuffy house is going to leave them racing for the water bowl to quench their thirst. 

Excessive thirst can also be a sign of health conditions such as DIABETES, especially if this is combined with them peeing way more than usual. It can also be due to an issue with their kidneys, such as kidney failure, so make sure you take them to a vet if they start drinking loads. 

Sometimes, their tasty treats can leave them feeling thirsty as well. Kind of like when we head down to the pub and order really salty chips – you just gotta have a drink after. So, when they have treats or bones to chew, make sure there is plenty of water. 

Reasons Your Dog isn’t Drinking 

If your dog isn’t drinking, there’s no need to panic right away. There are several reasons why they might not be drinking, and not all of them are health-related. 

Inactivity. If your dog isn’t being exercised very much, they are unlikely to drink very much or anything at all until they naturally become thirsty. The best solution is to take them out for a run, unless they are on bed rest in which case just monitor them to make sure they drink a little. 

Change of Scene. If you’ve moved recently and everything is new and unfamiliar, you may find that your dog is less than eager to have a drink. This is likely because they don’t feel safe and need time to settle. Bringing a water bottle and dish from the old house can help with this. 

Weather. Cooler temperatures tend to mean that your dog ends up drinking less than normal. This is nothing to worry about and completely natural. It can just come as a bit of a shock when you’ve watched them drinking ravenously all summer long. 

Age. Older dogs do tend to drink less than younger ones, it’s just part of getting older. You do need to make sure they are getting some water though, so ensure the bowl is easy for them to get to and that they are drinking a little every day. 

Health. There are a few health conditions that can cause your dog to stop drinking, and if you are concerned you should always take them to the vet for a checkup. These health conditions include (but are not limited to):

  • Urinary tract infection 
  • Bladder infection 
  • Kidney disease 
  • Diabetes 

What are the Signs of Dehydration in Your Dog? 

It’s essential to know the SIGNS that your dog is dehydrated so that you can resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Things to look out for include:

  • Loss of appetite 
  • Panting 
  • Drooping head 
  • Dry nose 
  • Sunken eyes
  • Difficulty standing up  
  • Sticky and dry gums 
  • Thick and pasty saliva 
  • Very dark urine
  • Loss of elasticity in the skin 

This quick video from Impulse Notion takes you through the most common signs and quick solutions. You can find more information on the solutions in the next section. 

How Do You Hydrate a Dog That Won’t Drink? 

First, in really severe cases you will need to take your dog to a vet to get them hydrated through an IV. Dehydration is very serious and you don’t want to risk lasting damage to their health. However, there are also a few things you can do at home to try and help. 

Bowls Everywhere. Place water bowls throughout the home and ensure they are in every room. Keep them filled at all times and refresh them every day. This can help to tempt your dog. 

Flavour. Your vet will stock flavoured electrolytes that can be added to water. This actually helps to rehydrate them, and the fact that it often tastes like chicken or something else that’s tasty means that your dog will lap it up happily. A drop is all it takes. 

Wet Food. Adding a little wet food to your dog’s diet means that they are getting more water. It’s not a cure for the situation, but it certainly helps to boost their hydration levels.

Take a look at our guide on how long dogs can go without eating, without them becoming ill and needing to visit a vet.  

Final Thoughts 

Dehydration is a serious thing, and if you are worried about your dog then you should make sure you contact your vet ASAP. It could be something simple like a change in the weather or moving house, but why risk it being a more serious issue? 

Make sure you check out the rest of our guides to caring for your dog – the best dog food is a prepared one!

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