How Much Water Does Your Dog Really Need?
Most of us fill our dog’s water bowl each day, but probably have no idea how much water our dogs actually drink. Is it enough? Too much?
Luckily, dogs are pretty good at regulating their own water intake. A healthy dog drinks when she is thirsty and stops when she’s had enough. As long as you provide access to clean, fresh water, they’ll do the rest. You can also perform a simple check for dehydration by lifting a piece of skin on the back of a dog’s neck and letting go. If the skin remains raised and is slow to bounce back, your dog needs more water, whereas a quick return indicates sufficient hydration.
Generally speaking, dogs need between a half and full ounce of water per pound of body weight each day; for scale, that is2.5 to 5 cups of water for a 40-pound dog. It’s a wide range, mostly because dogs vary in activity levels, temperatures, diet and even health.
Your dog might need more water if…
…she’s very active. A dog that’s running around outside all day will need more water, and it’s important to replenish clean water frequently! If the bowl is dry, instinct could lead your dog to other potentially unsafe sources like ponds, sprinklers, or pools.
…it’s hot outside. Just like with humans, warm temperatures increase thirst, so an outdoor water bowl is always a good idea during the summer—even for a low-energy dog who spends the afternoon lounging. Also, always have water on hand when you and your dog are out and about. If you find yourself without, Ollie recommends this hack for transforming a clean poop bag into an impromptu bowl.
…she eats dry food. Dogs on a dry kibble diet tend to need more water, not only because the food is dry but it also soaks up water quickly due to its starches.
…she’s sick or on medication. Dogs who are ill or recovering from illness often need more water, especially if they’re on certain medications that tend to dehydrate or give pups a dry mouth. Just like Dr. Mom said, “drink your fluids” applies to dogs too.
Drinking lots more water without symptoms of an illness or recovery may be a symptom within itself. Dogs with thyroid conditions, Cushing’s disease or diabetes tend to drink profuse amounts of water. If your dog has been drinking (and urinating) to excess, call your vet.
…she’s a mama or a puppy. Puppies, pregnant and nursing dogs require more water to support their growing and changing bodies.
Your dog might need less water if…
…she’s on a wet food diet. Just like the kibble eater needs more, a wet food diet pup needs less. Since there is water in the food itself and it is less likely to be starch-heavy, so your dog will probably be less thirsty.
…your dog snacks on fruits or vegetables. Fresh produce has a high water content that helps keep your dog hydrated.
…your dog has a low activity level and stays indoors all day. Air conditioning and a soft spot on the sofa make for a less thirsty dog.
Either way, refresh your pup’s water bowl throughout the day and rinse it out to remove backwash or any still water yuckies. And remember: If your pup seems continuously dehydrated, or seems to drink water excessively, contact your vet because it could indicate an underlying health problem.
This article was adapted from the Ollie blog. Ollie delivers freshly made human-grade meals to dogs across the country, tailoring the recipes to their nutritional needs. Want to try it? Go to myollie.com to access a special 50% off discount on your first box.