How Much Water Does My Dog Need to Drink Daily?


Nothing is as essential for your dog's health as water. Dogs can survive for a while without sufficient carbs, proteins, and fats, but without water, their lives will soon be in danger. Water is essential for the proper functioning of every system in their bodies. 

Water is especially important for dogs for the regulation of body temperatures and the prevention of overheating.  That is because their main source of heat dissipation is by panting (in contrast to humans, who rely more upon sweating). And panting results in a lot of water loss. As a result, your dog needs extra care, especially during hot days, to stay hydrated.  


What is the importance of water in dogs?

Water plays a key role in almost every process and structure in your dog’s body, including:

  • Having a cushioning effect on internal organs
  • Assisting digestion
  • Transporting oxygen to cells throughout the body
  • Protecting the spinal cord
  • Lubricating joints
  • Absorbing nutrients
  • Regulating body temperature
  • Eliminating waste via sweat, poop, and urination


How much water should your dog drink in a day?

There are a couple of key criteria to tell how much water your dog drinks in a day. One guideline is that your dog should drink 2 to 3 times more water than the food they eat on a single day.  Another guideline is based on the dog’s body weight.  Under that guideline, your dog should have 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight.  Those guidelines should be increased if your dog is very active, lives in a hot climate, or has a history of a health condition that makes him or her prone to dehydration.


How to find out if your dog needs more water?

You should also adjust those general guidelines based on actual observations of your pet.  Some signs to watch for that indicate your dog is not getting enough water include:

  • Dry nose
  • Lethargy and lack of energy
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry gums (sometimes bluish)
  • Thick saliva
  • Lose skin tone
  • Loss of appetite


What does it mean if your dog starts drinking more water than usual?

It is quite normal for your dog’s water intake to increase from time to time.  For example, increased intake could be due to changes in activity levels or due to hotter weather (resulting in increased panting and water loss). There are also certain life events or circumstances that might trigger increased water consumption, including:

  • Puppy phase of life
  • Pregnancy
  • Nursing
  • Having a high-sodium diet
  • High activities
  • Feeling bored

There is nothing unusual about a dog being extra-thirsty for a day here and there. However, if your dog starts demanding more water on a regular basis, that could be due to some underlying conditions. In such a case, you should take your dog to a vet to rule out common diseases such as:

  • Kidney disorders (CKD)
  • Diabetes
  • Addition’s disease
  • Cushing’s syndrome or disease
  • Liver damage or failure


What happens if your dog drinks too much water?

If your dog drinks more water than his body needs, health issues could develop. Some pathologies that result from taking excessive water include the following:


1-Water intoxication

Consuming a large amount of water for a short duration by your dog might result in diluting the body’s electrolytes. This may proceed into developing hyponatremia, also known as water intoxication. Signs of hyponatremia include:

  • Seizures
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Coma and death (in severe cases)

2-Urinary issues

Your dog’s kidneys can get overwhelmed if they take excessive water. Moreover, the chances of developing urinary tract infections and urinary incontinence will be higher. All these conditions may result in compromising your dog’s lifestyle.

3-Gastric dilation volvulus (GDV)

Sometimes, dogs develop gastric dilation volvulus (GDV) due to drinking water rapidly right after intense physical activity and taking meals. GDV is a serious and life-threatening condition. It causes stomach twisting, thus trapping gases, water, and food.


What happens if your dog doesn’t drink enough water?

Some serious and common pathologies linked with under-drinking include:   


Dehydration is the most obvious consequence of not drinking enough water over an extended time.

2-Heat stroke

As mentioned in the introduction, given the importance of drinking water (and panting) for regulating heat in the dog’s body, insufficient water intake will jeopardize your dog’s ability to regulate its body temperature.  In all cases, this will tax your dog’s body and all its systems.  If the condition persists, it can lead to heat stroke.

3-Kidney dysfunction

Consistent dehydration resulting from insufficient water intake increases the risks of kidney straining, resulting in the kidneys being unable to function properly. Over extended periods of time, this can lead to formation of kidney stones and related renal issues.


How do you encourage your dog to drink the right amount of water?

If your dog is not drinking enough water, try some of these tips to increase consumption:

Ensure fresh and clean water – Make the water appetizing by keeping it fresh and clean, and make a habit of changing the water bowl regularly.  This will not only encourage water drinking but also reduce the odds of contamination.  

Use a fountain – Most dogs prefer to drink running water instead of stagnant water. Bring out a pet fountain to encourage and stimulate water drinking in your dog.

Add flavors – Some dogs love to drink flavored water. Try to make your dog’s water appealing by adding some fruit pieces or a splash of low-sodium broth.

Offer wet foods – Canned wet foods help to optimize your dog’s hydration. They contain a high water content compared to dry kibbles, and thus may be suitable for your under-drinking dog.

Monitor water intake – Always pay attention to your dog's drinking and urination habits. Address any abnormality with your pet’s veterinarian.



Getting your dog’s water intake right is one of the most important things you can do to keep your pet healthy.   Empowered with knowledge about your pet’s hydration needs and what to watch for to adjust that can keep your dog hydrated, healthy, and happy for many years to come.