Border Collie Mix drinking water.

How Much Water Should A Dog Drink Per Day - A Complete Overview

We all know how vital water is as a resource for all animals, including our pets. While cats seemingly enjoy drinking very little, keeping their sandpaper tongues as scratchy as possible, dogs are completely different. It’s advised that you have several water bowls available for your dog around the house to quench their thirst.

But what is a normal amount for them to drink? How much water should a dog drink a day? We answer this question and more in today’s detailed article and video so stay tuned!


Not A One Size Fits All Approach

I wish that this article could be simple with a single litre value. But as always, things are more complicated than that. Not only do individual dogs differ quite a lot but the size of your dog factors in too. That makes sense of course. A Pomeranian needs far less water than a Great Dane to stay mobile happy and healthy. So what’s the formula?

According to PetMD, 

“In general, dogs should drink approximately 60 millilitres of water per kilo of body weight each day.” (1)

That sounds awfully specific, doesn’t it? Well, to further complicate things, several factors can affect how much water your dog drinks daily:

Exercise

If your dog is highly active, this can cause them to drink much more during the day. This
is because dogs perspire through their nose and via panting. (2) This water loss needs
to be compensated with fresh water, so you’ll find that your dog's water intake will be
higher than the average pup if they are active.

Related: Best Dog Water Fountains.

Heat

When temperatures rise, so does the perspiration and panting. Your dog will need much more water around in the summer than in the winter months. You can also use tools like cooling mats to regulate your dog’s temperature and prevent dehydration and heat stroke when temperatures soar. 

Homemade food or wet dog food diets

Homemade dog food and wet dog food have higher water content than dry dog food. Though dry dog food is generally recommended by vets for various reasons, you may opt for wet dog food or homemade dog food as alternatives. Particularly if your dog is prone to dehydration or on medication that makes dehydration more likely.

Medication

Speaking of which, medication is also a factor. For example, “furosemide” is a drug that is used to treat heart conditions in dogs. It causes an increase in urine production so to compensate, your dog will naturally feel more thirsty. Some anti-inflammatory drugs and other kinds of medications have similar side effects of excessive thirst.

Illness

Diabetes is the most common ailment in dogs that people link to excessive drinking of water. Other culprits could be cancer, Cushing’s disease, kidney failure and liver failure. If your dog has a huge change in their water drinking habits, it’s worth getting some blood work done at the vet to be sure there are no underlying health issues.

Age

This is more anecdotal than anything, but I’ve noticed that my dogs are drinking much more water into their old age than when they were younger. It could be due to underlying health conditions that we are already aware of. Or maybe, like many old-timers, dogs go through their own kind of mid-life crisis where they vow to take better care of themselves in their twilight years. Who truly knows. All I know is that I end up topping up the water bowls far more often now than a few years ago.

Individual differences

Some dogs are just more thirsty than others! Generally, it’s nothing to worry about if they are naturally heavy drinkers *wink wink*. Likewise, some dogs that drink far less water naturally, even though it’s available. You only need to worry if your dog has a huge change in their drinking habits in a noticeable way for over a week. Involve your vet to investigate what may be happening.

Those factors muddy the waters when it comes to calculating how much your dog should drink daily. But the good news is your dog will drink what they need. The most important thing to do as a responsible dog owner is to have topped-up water bowls around the house for whenever your dog needs it. You don’t need to make an exact calculation as to how much water your dog needs daily. Just keep your water stations filled and your dog will be fine!


How Much Water Should A Puppy Drink

Small chihuahua puppy drinking water.

So those are the guidelines for dogs, but what about puppies? Jan Reisen from American Kennel Club writes:

“Generally, young puppies need about one-half cup of water every two hours. You’ll want to monitor your puppy to make sure he’s drinking enough . . . and not too much.

Older puppies that have already been weaned generally need between 30-60 millilitres of water per kilo of body weight per day,” (3)."

Do we need to encourage our puppies to drink their water like unruly children? No, you don’t! Your puppy also has an instinct to drink when they are thirsty. But there is a crucial difference if your puppy is young and housetraining.

For adult dogs, you can leave water bowls out for them all day every day. For puppies, it’s recommended to take away the water bowls during the nighttime. This is because puppies have smaller bladders and may have a setback with their housetraining progress if they are allowed to drink at all hours of the night. (4)


How Much Water Is Too Much?

Excessive thirst has the official name “polydipsia”. There are many reasons for polydipsia and unfortunately, it’s quite hard to measure. Because of how changeable thirst is as a biological mechanism, you can only really tell if your dog is having a problem over the long term.

For instance, it’s common for dogs to have spikes in thirst from time to time when they are particularly warm or active. If your dog is drinking more than normal for a day or two, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s likely a normal reaction to environmental factors as opposed to a significator of health issues.

If your dog has polydipsia, it may be paired with other symptoms such as:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Withdrawal from play and exercise
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting

If your dog has been drinking excessively for over a week, it’s time to involve your vet. If you can, try to take a record of your dog’s drinking habits after you’ve noticed the problem. This will help your vet identify the route of the problem in their investigations.


What Are The Signs Of Dehydration In Dogs?

We’ve talked a lot about what to do if your dog is drinking an excessive amount of water. What if your dog is not drinking enough water? It’s quite rare that your dog will purposefully go without water if it is available. The most common way that dogs get dehydrated is when away from home such as during car journeys or long walks. This is why it’s so important to have a good portable dog water bottle with you at all times and to never leave your dog unattended in your car.

How do you know if your dog is dehydrated? Here are the tell-tale signs:

Saggy skin


This means that if you pinch the skin, it doesn’t snap back quickly. Loss of skin elasticity is a good way to tell dehydration in humans too!

Excessive panting and drooling


These can be linked to underlying health conditions or simply temporary effects of increased exercise.

Dry nose 


Your dog’s nose is normally moist due to your dog licking it and mucus secreted through the glands. Wet noses are more effective but dry noses aren’t necessarily something to worry about. If your dog’s nose has been dry for a while, however, it may be a sign of dehydration.

Tiredness


Severely dehydrated dogs will be lethargic and slow. It may look similar to heat stroke.

Diarrhoea and/or vomiting


This is more of a cause than a symptom. Your dog will lose a lot of water when they have diarrhoea or vomiting. They must rehydrate while their body is under stress.

Sticky gums and/or thick saliva


Lack of water causes saliva to become stringy and sticky. It also dries out the gums making them uncomfortable.

If you notice any of these symptoms, get your dog some water pronto! If your dog gets severe dehydration, it could lead to other health issues and require medical intervention to solve. Avoid that at all costs by providing ample sources of water wherever your dog may roam.


Final Thoughts

To summarise, there is a general guideline of 60 millilitres of water per kilo of body weight per day. But the true answer to this question is that your dog will drink as much as they need to drink every day.

All you need to do is provide adequate fresh water sources for your dog throughout the day to quench their thirst, and be mindful of any huge changes in drinking habits.

References

  1. “How Much Water Should a Dog Drink?”. August 11, 2020. PetMD. Retrieved June 19, 2022. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_the_importance_of_water
  2. Schamble, M. May 23, 2021. “Why Do Dogs Pant?”. American Kennel Club.  Retrieved June 19, 2022. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/why-do-dogs-pant/
  3. Reisen, J. May 21, 2019. “Is Your Puppy Drinking Enough Water?”. American Kennel Club.  Retrieved June 19, 2022. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/puppy-drinking-enough-water/
  4. Bovsun, M. March 2, 2020. “How To Potty Train Puppies: A Comprehensive Guide for Success”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved June 19, 2022. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/how-to-potty-train-a-puppy/
Olivia De Santos

Olivia is a professional writer and animal lover. She loves spending time with her Podengo and Flat Coated Retriever, and writing pieces to help people to be better dog owners

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