How Much Water Should a Dog Drink to Stay Healthy?
By Pierre Mouchette | Bits-n-Pieces
How much water should a dog drink in a day?
As a guideline, most veterinarians recommend that dogs drink approximately 2 to 3 times more water than the food they eat daily.
You can calculate the correct amount by following the general guidance that dogs should drink 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight daily. An ounce of water equals one-eighth of a cup. So, a healthy black lab weighing 60 pounds will need 60 ounces of water daily. This means they will need about 7.5 cups of water per day.
Use the following chart to estimate how much water your dog needs based on their weight.
Why is water so important for dogs?
Water is essential to the healthy functioning of all your pup’s bodily systems. In the same way you protect your dog’s health by vaccinating them, you can help keep them healthy by ensuring they always have fresh, clean water.
Water plays a critical role in:
How can you tell if your dog needs more water?
There are some simple ways to determine whether your dog needs fluids. If your canine shows the following signals, they may be dehydrated:
How can I check if my dog is dehydrated?
If your dog loses more fluid than they are taking in, they are at risk of dehydration. When your dog is dehydrated, they are not just losing water. They also lose essential electrolytes that help them maintain healthy blood flow and oxygen levels.
There are some easy ways to check if your dog is dehydrated. First, you can test the elasticity of your pup’s skin. Do this by lifting the skin flap on your dog’s back between the shoulder blades. When you let go of the skin, it should fall back into place immediately. If the skin does not return to its normal position, your dog may be dehydrated. Another easy check you can do at home involves checking their gums for capillary refill time. Simply press a finger against your dog’s gums until they turn white, then remove your finger. Ideally, when you remove your finger, the gums should regain their usual color within 2 seconds. In a dehydrated dog, it takes much longer for their gums to recover their color.
What does it mean if your dog starts drinking more water than usual?
It is usual for your dog to need more water on some days than others. For example, if your dog is exercising or the weather has been hot, they must consume more water to balance the fluid loss.
Dogs also drink more when they:
Make an appointment with your veterinarian if your dog is drinking more and has the following symptoms:
Both vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration, so if your dog has these symptoms, you should take them to the vet before the situation worsens. The vet may give your pup fluids to help replace their lost fluids. Depending on your dog’s symptoms, the vet may also want to run tests to determine if your pup has an illness that needs further treatment.
Some common diseases that can cause increased thirst and urination are:
Can your dog drink too much water?
Yes, your dog can drink too much water. The result can be water poisoning, also known as water intoxication or hyperhydration. However, it is not common for this to happen.
When your dog ingests too much water, it can throw off the balance in their sodium levels and cause cells to swell. It causes issues with body function. Advanced water intoxication can lead to brain damage, coma, seizures, or even death.
Signs of water intoxication may include:
According to the ASPCA Poison Control Center, water intoxication occurs more often in summer, when people bring their dogs to the beach or pool. Dogs that love the water may accidentally swallow large amounts while playing in the surf.
If you think your dog has water intoxication, immediately bring them to the vet or the nearest emergency animal hospital.
This page provides articles on Life and Life-Health on Mondays and Wednesdays, about your best friends, Cats, and Dogs, and then on Fridays on Environmental issues.