How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?

how long can a dog go without water

You’ve probably heard the saying that water is life. Like humans, our canine friends can’t survive for long without water. Dog owners should provide fresh cool water for their dogs every day as it keeps our canines properly hydrated and their vital organs healthy. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how long a dog can go without water. You’ll be surprised by the stark contrast in the survival time for a dog that goes without water vs. a dog that goes without eating and food. We’ll also provide dehydration signs in dogs to look out for. But first, let’s find out the answer to this question. 

How long can a dog go without water? Dogs can generally go without water for up to 72 hours or 3 days, however, your dogs should never go without water for this long. After 24 hours or 1 day, your dog may start getting thirsty and dehydrated. If you’re at work or not at home and you forget to fill their water bowl, a dog can survive up to 7 to 10 hours without water.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?

how long can dog go without water
how long a dog can live without water?

Let’s find out what happens when your dog goes without water for up to 3 days:

Day 1

Dogs that go without water for 24 hours or 1 full day may experience lethargy or fatigue. As the hours go by, your pooch may feel more dehydrated than before and she may start to pant heavier than usual. 

If you accidentally did not provide your pooch enough water or your canine buddy went without water, it’s best to feed them cool fresh water right away. If your pooch is lethargic and refuses to drink, offer them water in small amounts from your hand. 

When you’re feeding your dog, add some water into her food. This will start to rehydrate your four-legged friends again.

You may be interested in: What Can Dogs Drink Besides Water? When our dogs are sick or not feeling well, they may not want to drink water or eat. We’ve provided 6 drinks other than water that is dog-friendly and healthy for dogs!

Day 2

When dogs go 48 hours without water, they will continue to become weaker. Since their body is not hydrated or well-balanced, they may not be able to move or walk around. When this happens, it’s best if dog owners bring the water bowl to their dogs.

If your canine friends are still not drinking, allow them to drink from your hand or finger. You could dab water onto their gums with your finger. Alternatively, you could also add water into their food so when they eat, they can gain hydration.  

We highly recommend that you bring your pooch to the vet if none of these methods are working. Your vet may be able to get them hydrated via IV fluids.

Day 3

It’s best to avoid having your K9 family member go 3 days or 72 hours without water. Since water is essential to their health and well-being, your precious pooch may be in critical condition. If you’re having a hard time rehydrating your four-legged friends, bring them to the vet immediately for IV fluids to prevent any organ failure or damage. 

Since your furry friend isn’t able to walk properly due to dehydration, you’ll need to use a crate to carry him or her to the vet.

How long can a dog go without drinking water?

A dog can go for up to 72 hours without drinking water. But just because they can survive for this long without drinking water doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do or that it’s ok for dogs to go without water for this long. 

Be sure to keep your dog’s water bowl full of fresh cool water. If you work or have to leave the house for an extended period of time, you can get an automated water dispenser for your pooch.

While a dog can survive up to 7 to 10 hours without water, it’s best that dog owners avoid forgetting to refill the dog water bowl. Constantly forgetting to provide water for your furry friends can result in health damage to vital organs in your dog’s body. 

If your dog is sick and refuses to drink water, there are steps you can take to get them to eat and stay hydrated. If none of the methods work, kindly bring them to the vet immediately for a checkup to find out the underlying cause of the problem. Your vet will then put her on an IV fluid to keep her hydrated again.

Check out: How to Get Your Dog to Eat When Sick to find out more than 10 ways to encourage your pups to eat when they are sick. It’s a must-read!

How much water should dogs drink?

When it comes to your dog’s body, water makes up more than 70% of their body by weight. It is important that your canine family member maintain this amount of water in their system daily. It is highly recommended that dogs need at least one ounce of water per pound of their body weight every day. 

For example: 

  • A Chihuahua dog weighing 8 pounds needs at least 8 ounces of water each day, which equates to 1 cup of water
  • A French bulldog weighing 24 pounds needs at least 24 ounces of water daily, equalling 3 cups of water.
  • A Labrador dog weighing 72 pounds needs 72 ounces of water each day, which equals 9 cups of water

Research shows that puppies, senior dogs, and pregnant female dogs have different hydration requirements than adult dogs.

Puppies

Puppies drink more water than adult dogs. By the time the puppies transition from their mother’s milk to food that is solid, they will need about 4 ounces of water or ½ cup of water every two hours. So if you currently have puppies, be sure to provide them with plenty of water. 

After the puppies have weaned successfully, their water intake requirement depends on their weight.

You may also be interested in: Find out how long a puppy can survive without eating by checking our article How Long Can A Puppy Go Without Eating or Drinking?

Senior dogs

how long can a dog live without water
how long can a dog survive without water

Because older dogs are more susceptible to dehydration, they require more water intake than adult dogs. There are many reasons why senior dogs are more prone to dehydration. 

  • Older dogs may have failing health problems that require them to take medications. These medications may make them more thirsty.  
  • Senior dogs with health problems like liver or kidney disease that make them pee more often than usual.

In severe cases, seniors dogs can die from dehydration, especially if they already have failing health conditions.

Pregnant and lactating female dogs

Pregnant female dogs tend to eat more in order to support the fetuses in their tummy so that the puppies can come into this world healthy. When they eat more, they may become more thirsty and drink more water than before. 

Lactating female dogs that are feeding their puppies need more water in order to stay hydrated and nourished.

If you have a pregnant female dog, we highly recommend that you place a water bowl close to them so they can easily access the fresh, cool, and clean water. Our friend is a breeder and she uses an automatic water dispenser for her pregnant pooch.

In addition to providing a bowl of fresh water every day, dog owners can add some water to the dog’s meal and treats.   

You may be interested in: When Is A Dog Too Old To Breed?

Please note that this is simply a guideline and your furry family member may need more water than this based on different factors like:

  • A dog’s activity level.
  • Your K9’s health condition and well-being.
  • The type of food you feed your pooch.
  • The weather and environment where you and your dogs live.  

This is why it’s important that dog owners keep a close eye on their pooch. When the summer season arrives, it can get very hot. If you have active dogs that love to run around and play in the sun, they will get hot and thirsty. Providing fresh cool water will keep them hydrated and cool.

Staying aware of how much water your K9 friends are drinking is crucial. A healthy dog will drink regularly in order to stay hydrated and well-balanced. As soon as they feel thirsty, their body will send them searching for water. 

However, if your pooch isn’t drinking enough water or isn’t drinking water at all, your pooch may be dehydrated. Call your vet and ask what you can do to help your furry friends drink water. Your dog’s vet may ask you to bring your dog in for a checkup to find the underlying reason for your dog going without water and diagnose the situation properly.

How to Check if Your Dog is Dehydrated

Keep in mind that dehydration can cause serious illness and overheating in dogs so dog owners should be mindful of the following signs of dehydration.  

Here are some signs of dehydration in dogs: 

  • Panting heavily and more than usual. Panting is a way for your pooch to cool down their body temperature. If your pooch is panting heavily, they may be overheating and dehydrated.
  • Lethargic or tired. Dogs that feel tired, lethargic, or fatigued may be dehydrated since they are not drinking enough water to keep their blood circulation going.
  • Not interested in solid food. Dogs that are dehydrated may have a loss of appetite because they are not able to swallow their food properly. Solid food may also make them more thirsty than soft food.
  • Dry and inelastic skin. Dogs that are dehydrated will have dry and inelastic skin. If you pinch them just a bit, their skin will hold its shape. Compare that to healthy and well-hydrated dogs where their skin will immediately flatten back out after you pinch it. 
  • Skin is sunk in around the eyes. Dogs with extreme dehydration will have the skin around their eyes sunk in.    
  • Nose is dry and flaky. You’ll probably notice a dog’s nose is always moisturized and shiny. That’s because dogs usually lick their noses often so it is always moist. If your furry friend’s nose is dry, it could be an indication that she may be dehydrated. Check with your vet regardless of the reason as a dog’s nose shouldn’t be cracked or dry.  
  • Gum is very dry. If the gum is consistently dry, it could be a sign of dehydration.  
  • Color of your dog’s pee. If your dog’s pee is dark yellow, your pooch may be dehydrated. A properly hydrated dog has pale or light yellow pee.  

Some dogs breathe fast through their nose and mouth while sleeping so it’s common that they have dry mouth after a nap. But if your pooch has dry gum regularly while they’re not napping, make sure they are not dehydrated.

If you notice any of these signs of dehydration, be sure to bring your pooch to the vet right away. Similarly to why dogs won’t eat their food, they may not drink water because they may be experiencing one of the following: 

  • Frequent diarrhea. 
  • Consistent vomiting.
  • Gastrointestinal upset.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Blockage in their urinary or intestinal tract. 

Dog owners that see these signs should consult with their dog’s vet right away. Especially when your pooch is constantly vomiting or having diarrhea, they are losing a lot of water from their body and if they continue to not drink water, they may become dehydrated and their overall health may be in jeopardy. 

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If you have to leave the house or will be gone for more than 3 to 4 hours, be sure to fill up your dog’s water bowl before you leave. Some dogs need a lot of water and will drink a lot. If this is the case with your dog, you can use an automatic water feeder so that there is always water available for them.

It’s best to hire a dog sitter if you’re planning to leave for several days to a week. Let them know where the water bowl is and if you have an automatic water feeder that needs to be replaced or refilled.

How long can a small dog go without water?

A healthy small dog can go without water for 2 to 3 days if the small pooch is in a contained cool environment. If your small dog lives in an area that is hot or is sick, then she can go without water for just 6 hours to 1 day.

It also really depends on the small dog breed. Some small dog breeds are more active than others and would require more water immediately, especially on hot sunny days. It also depends on the small dog’s health condition. Another factor is the small dog’s age. Small puppy dogs can go without water for a longer period than adult small dogs.

So, How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?

As you can see, while dogs can survive up to 3 days without water, it doesn’t mean that they should since it could affect their health and vital organs in their body. Sometimes dog owners accidentally forget to fill the dog water bowl and this can and will happen. However, it’s important to break this habit.

Many dog owners do have busy schedules and some jobs require frequent traveling. In this case, it’s best to get a dog sitter or an automatic water feeder as we have suggested above. This way your precious pooch can continue to stay hydrated and well-balanced even while you’re away at work.

If you have a sick dog that refuses to drink water no matter which method you try to get her to drink, it’s best to visit the vet to perform a checkup and find out the underlying cause of the problem. Don’t wait too long as sick dogs are usually weaker and are more prone to dehydration.

DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6305449/

https://bmcvetres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12917-016-0642-7

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