A puppy is drinking water from a bowl.

How much water should my dog drink a day

6 min read

You have the bowl. You put the water in there and then you just let the rest unfold; or do you?

Could there be more to your dog’s hydration than just that quick, 1-2 step move? Grab your magnifying glass and let us take a closer look at your fur baby’s hydration needs. Don’t worry, though; this won’t be rocket science. You won’t go through whiteboard calculations or extensive planning. However, you should be aware of a few best practices (and poor ones, as well) when it comes to your dog’s proper hydration.

Why is it important?

A dog is drinking water from a bottle.
Hydration is very important for dogs as it influences their health state.

Drinking plenty of water is important, not only for us, humans but for our cute, barking champions, as well. While dogs can, most often, survive for 2-3 days without water, it is not to say they will remain in an optimal health state if that happens. Skin elasticity, internal organ protection, digestive system lining and proper functioning, brain processes, joints movement, energy levels, and body temperature regulation can all be affected by dehydration. Losing as much as 15% of their bodies’ water level, without replacing it on time, can lead to severe organ malfunctioning and eventually even death. (Gasp!) No need to panic yet, though; there are a few rules of thumb that’ll help you avoid getting to that stage, as well as tell signs to give you a heads up when it’s time to refill those water bowls. So let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

How much water does my dog need?

The amount of water your dog requires will depend on several factors:

  • His/her size (most vets recommend about 1 fl oz of water per each pound (1 lb) of body weight);
  • Activity level (the higher it is, the more water your dog needs);
  • The outside temperature and length of time spent both indoors and outdoors;
  • Their age;
  • Any underlying health conditions or medications they may be on.

All of these would increase the regular water intake recommendation mentioned earlier. As a good rule of thumb, slightly higher water levels won’t hurt, as long as you’re following proper nutritional guidelines as well. Try not to overdo it either; you don’t want to run into other issues like diarrhea or vomiting.

How to make sure your dog is well hydrated?

A dog is drinking water from a bowl.
A dry nose, heavy breathing, or absence of energy can mean that your dog lacks hydration.

Now, what can you look for to ensure your doggy is well hydrated? An obvious sign would be panting. Is that tongue sticking far out and their breathing started accelerating? Then it’s for sure time for more water. Another quick and easy one to check is their nose moisture. Does your buddy have a dry nose? Then it’s again time for water. Still not sure from those two checks? Try grazing a finger across their gums and see if they are sticky or dry. If so, then…well, you get the drill.

A few other things to look for are low energy levels, droopy eyelids, dizziness, or confusion. One last test you could run is the “pinch and pull” test. Lightly pinch your dog’s skin and pull it up just a tad. If it falls right back in its initial position once you release it, then you should be in the safe zone; if not, you know what to do. Wait, do you actually know what to do? How can you get your dog to drink more water? No need to contemplate on it too long, if you don’t yet know the answer. Here come some basic tips.

What to do if your dog doesn`t drink enough

A dog is drinking water from a travel bottle.
If you see that your dog lacks hydration, ask yourself these 5 questions to find the root of a problem.

If you`ve already noticed that your pet is not well hydrated, you need to ask yourself these 5 questions in order to find the problem:

1. What`s your bowl size?

The first item to consider is the water bowl you’re using, particularly its size and composition (or decomposition, for our purposes here - will clarify that in a bit). When it comes to size, a teeny tiny water bowl will obviously not hold enough water for a big dog. Not only that, but when they stick their big snout and tongue in there, a good portion of that water will inevitably spill and splash in the immediately surrounding areas. On the other hand, if your buddy is the size of a pea (ok, maybe slightly larger) then they may be tempted to not only drink but also bathe themselves in a large bowl, especially in hot or humid weather. Both of these scenarios end up wasting good amounts of water which, in turn, can lead to not getting enough of it into their systems.

2. What is your bowl made of?

The composition of your water bowls is also important. Some cheap ones tend to either rust quickly or have their coloring and other chemicals leak into the water, especially after cleaning. Dogs can easily taste these substances and may avoid drinking enough water because of that. That’s why getting good quality bowls and checking them regularly can be a game-changer. One other thing you could do if in doubt, would be to use a number of bowls in different areas of your house to see if they steer clear of some but not of others. It may be something else about a specific bowl that bothers them.

3. Do you filter water or use a tap one?

If it’s not the bowl, then it could be the water itself. Most pet parents use tap water for their dogs; however, some doggies may not enjoy the chemicals that could come with that, especially if the water was not filtered. Try filtering it first or even using bottled water and see if that makes a difference.

4. What`s the water temperature?

Another point to consider is the temperature of the water. Does it get quite hot inside your house? Then, you could try adding some ice cubes to the bowls to cool that water off a bit. Cubes are actually a fun toy to play with, as well. So you may even try giving them a few plain cubes to have some fun time with.

5. What else can I do?

If water by itself still isn’t doing the trick, then you could infuse it with some watermelon, berries, or cucumber. Some flavor may be all they need. You may also feed them those watermelons, berries, or cucumbers directly and see if they go for it. These have a good amount of water in them already. Something else to try would be incorporating more wet food into your dog’s diet. However, be cautious about adding water to dry food as it could lead to bacterial growth.

One 2016 study published in the International Journal of Food Contamination discovered that rehydrating dry food to reach a moisture level of 35% or higher supported the growth of Salmonella in 4 out of 8 brands of food. This level can also be affected by temperature and other conditions. So it is better to be safe and not attempt such techniques unless you are well aware of their safety.


All in all, it is not that hard to ensure your buddy gets the right amount of water. With just a few little tweaks and tricks, you can get them to keep their energy high and their little tails wiggling constantly. The next time you curl up on the couch and cuddle up against your fur baby’s warm body, keep an eye out on their nose, gums and breathing, and be ready to respond quickly if they seem dehydrated.

by GetESA

Rating: 5/5 1 votes cast

Pet Care