The amount of water a dog should drink in a day varies by body weight and factors such as weather and the dog's health and activity level. Always provide easily accessible fresh water, in clean bowls, for your pets. Dogs otherwise may become dehydrated or contract kidney or urinary issues.
Although several factors may affect the amount of water a dog should drink daily, you can estimate a dog’s water need as 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. Other guidelines approximate water intake to equate to two and half times the amount of food intake. Factors that may cause dogs to need more than these quantities may include pregnancy, lactation, hot weather, health conditions, medications, and recent exercise.
Importance of Drinking
Drinking water aids in digestion and circulation, and allows for nutrients and other substances to move throughout the body. Organs such as the kidneys and liver require hydration to function properly. Additionally, drinking water allows a dog to absorb necessary nutrients and maintain regular evacuation. Water is also vital to maintaining normal body temperature and cushioning of spinal cord and joints. Without enough water, a dog will become dehydrated, leading to serious complications such as organ failure and death.
Dehydration is a serious condition for a dog. Sixty to 80 percent of a dog’s body is water. If you suspect your dog is dehydrated and he is not drinking, seek veterinary care. If your dog is not eating or drinking and exhibits lethargic or depressive behavior and sunken eyes, the cause may be dehydration. Closely monitor older dogs and those with certain illnesses such as diabetes, as they may be more prone to dehydration.
Do not overlook the need to refresh your dog’s water bowl often. A dog self-monitors his water intake and drinks when thirsty. Lack of access to clean water may lead to a dog drinking stale water, toilet water, water from an unclean bowl or water from natural outdoor sources that may contain unhealthy bacteria or contaminants. Ensure that your dog drinks extra water after exercise and in hot weather; always seek vet care when a dog exhibits changes in drinking habits.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Francine Richards is a licensed multi-state insurance agent with years of human resources and insurance industry experience. Her work has appeared on Blue Cross Blue Shield websites and newsletters, the Houston Chronicle and The Nest. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Maryland.