How much water should your dog drink?

Unsure of how much water your dog should be drinking each day? Worried your pet could be drinking too much? Check our top tips for your dog’s healthy hydration!

Why is water important for dogs?

We can all live without many things, but not one of us can live without water - and that goes for man’s best friend, too. Water is the key to keeping our bodies alive and well. Without it, living things just can’t survive. For dogs, having enough water is essential to having a happy, healthy life and avoiding dehydration.

Keeping an eye on how much water your dog is lapping up is essential. Too little, and they’ll get dehydrated. Too much, and it may be an indication that your dog is unwell. Making sure to clean and refill your dog’s water bowl regularly, while also keeping an eye on their thirst, is important.


Can a dog have too much water?

The short answer is yes, they can have too much water. Though it’s rare, overhydration or water poisoning is pretty dangerous for dogs and it occurs when a large amount of water is consumed in a short space of time. Just like us, when dogs drink too much water too quickly, their electrolyte levels get skewed, causing the sodium levels in their body to drop.

Overhydration only tends to happen when a dog is exposed to a large source of water, such as a lake or a river - rather than just their dog bowl. If you’re concerned about water poisoning, here are some of the signs to look out for:

  • Bloating
  • A lack of direction and coordination (falling, swaying, staggering)
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Dilated pupils and glazed eyes

How much water do dogs need?

As with most things in life, the amount of water your dog needs depends on a whole host of different factors: including their age, agility, diet, size, general health, and, of course, the weather. Hot days = thirsty dogs. It’s natural for dogs to lap up a lot more water on sunny days, as well as after exercise.

Here’s a breakdown of factors to consider when filling up your dog’s bowl:

Factor Description
Age Adult dogs don’t tend to have issues with their water intake - they usually drink when they need to. However, with young puppies, as well as elderly dogs, we’d recommend monitoring their water intake more closely. Whether it’s down to puppies getting overexcited and gulping at a rapid rate, or an older dog neglecting their thirst, it’s important to keep an eye on more vulnerable dogs.
Size The water intake is usually measured per kg and is obviously very dependent on the breed. For example, if you have a Chihuahua or a little Jack Russell, they’re likely to drink a lot less than an Alsatian or a German Shepherd. If you have a larger pooch, be sure to continuously refill their water bowl.
Exercise Just like humans, dogs need more water after an excursion - no matter their size. Naturally, if your puppy has had a long walk or has been playing for a period, they’re going to need a lot more water than a dog that has been lounging inside. Take note of your furry friend and how much exercise they’ve had - especially on hotter days. It’s helpful to take a water bowl or travel bottle out with you in case your dog needs a little pick-me-up!
Diet If your puppy has a dry food diet, it’s likely they’ll need more water than a dog who eats wet food. Also, if you have a tendency to treat your pooch to tasty treats, it’s important to make sure their water bowl is topped up at all times.

For a more personalised idea of how much water your dog should be drinking, why not try out a water intake calculator?

What are the symptoms of dehydration in dogs?

The common signs of dehydration in dogs include the following:

  • Weakness
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Frequent collapsing
  • Dry gums
  • Sunken eyes
  • Tiredness

Just like our rumbly tummies need food and water to quench our thirst, dogs' bodies also need fuel and regular hydration. Though there isn’t a clear-cut answer on exactly how much water to give your dog, keeping on top of your furry friends’ routine and monitoring their water intake is the best way to give them the right water intake.

Research your dog's breed thoroughly before deciding on their diet and water intake, and if you ever become concerned with how much water your dog is or isn’t drinking, take them to see their vet immediately.

For more information on all things dog-related, visit our Dog Advice section.


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