Is Your Dog Drinking Enough Water?

Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on June 14, 2015. Enjoy!

Water makes up around 80 percent of a dog’s body. It’s essential for optimum health — for both humans and pets — but how much is enough for our pets? And is there such thing as too much water?

Looking after an animal is a major responsibility, since they depend on humans for their needs. We tend to assume that as long as we provide our dogs with a water bowl, they will drink the necessary amount, but unfortunately this is not always true.

Some dogs are under-hydrated, while others may drink too much. Here’s what every pet owner should know about hydration.

Water’s Vital Role in the Body

Water is the basis of life, as it hydrates, nourishes and cleanses the body. While your dog can survive for a long time without food, insufficient water consumption can seriously damage the body. In a relatively short period of time, just a 10 percent drop in hydration can be fatal.

From mental alertness and ease of breathing, to optimum digestion and bowel movements, every metabolic process in a dog’s body will be affected by its level of hydration.

Blood flow pumps oxygen through the body and removes toxins, but poor hydration can lead to a buildup of toxins in the muscles and organs, causing a huge array of health issues. Dogs regulate their heat by panting, and this heavy breath causes a lot of moisture to leave the body — especially on hot days or while exercising.

Lack of water can result in dehydration, organ failure and kidney stones or other urinary tract problems, but apart from these direct health issues, insufficient water intake can be an indicator of existing problems.

Water Consumption Can Be a Health Indicator

Dogs who are not drinking enough water or who have an insatiable thirst could be displaying signs of more serious health problems — and that’s why it’s essential to keep a close eye on their drinking habits.

Dogs with illnesses such as parvovirus, pancreatitis and leptospirois — as well as many others — do not tend to drink much water, so if you notice that your dog is barely drinking anything, it may be worth taking them for a check-up. On the flip side, dogs with bladder infections, diabetes and Cushing’s disease — among others — are often extremely thirsty and can be observed drinking excessive amounts of water.

While it’s important to monitor how much your dog is drinking, remember to keep things in perspective with their other behaviors, temperature conditions and so on, so that you don’t become overly concerned every time your dog has a big drink of water!

So How Much Water Does Your Dog Need?

A dog’s water needs vary from breed to breed, and they also depend on size, age, diet, activity level and environmental conditions.

The recommended water intake for a dog is approximately one ounce of water per pound of bodyweight, per day.

Your dog’s diet will play a big role in the amount of water that it needs to consume. For instance, dogs who solely eat dry biscuits or kibble will get significantly less hydration from their food than those on moisture-rich diets.

During the hot weather, if your dog is very thirsty after a long walk or play session, it’s a good idea to let him or her rehydrate over an extended period of time, rather than letting the dog guzzle down too much water at once.

If your dog finishes all the water in its bowl, wait for half an hour before refilling it, so that your pup has time to rest and digest. You can also help keep dogs hydrated during exercise by giving them access to water — little and often is best.

To test whether your dog may be dehydrated, you can lift the skin on the back of the neck and watch to see how quickly it returns to its normal position. If it forms a sort of tent, and doesn’t fall back into place immediately, then your dog may be dehydrated.

Nobody knows your dog better than you, and by keeping a close eye on your dog’s behavior you can tell if he or she is happy and healthy — or showing signs of dehydration or illness. Regularly monitoring water intake should become a habit, as it can tell you a lot about your dog’s health and wellness.

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Photo Credit: ThePatronSaint

263 comments

Janet B
Janet B28 days ago

Thanks

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Chad A
Chad Andersonabout a month ago

Useful!

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Mike R
Mike Rabout a month ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike Rabout a month ago

Thanks

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Teresa A
Teresa Aabout a month ago

Thank you.

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Deborah S
Deborah Sabout a month ago

Thank you. My dog doesn't drink much water at all. In the morning the water bowl will be empty.

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Ligia M
Ligia Mabout a month ago

ty

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LF F
LF Fabout a month ago

Seems like you could monitor how often your dog is urinating and 'see' if its a little or alot to see if they are getting enough. What goes in, must come out.

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Peggy B
Peggy Babout a month ago

Good to know.

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Lenore K
Lenore Kabout a month ago

ok

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