Updated 09-05-2023

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water?

As pet owners, it's important to understand our furry friends' basic needs to ensure their health and well-being. One of the most crucial necessities for any living being is water. In this article, we will answer the question of "how long can a dog go without water" and discuss other important considerations regarding your pet's water intake.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water?

The answer to this question may vary depending on various factors such as age, breed, size, and activity level of the dog. However, on average, a healthy adult dog can go without water for around 3-5 days, although this can vary depending on the dog's environment and circumstances. For example, if the dog is in a hot and humid environment, it may require more water to stay hydrated.

It's essential to note that although a dog may survive without water for a few days, it doesn't mean that it's healthy or recommended. Dehydration can cause various health problems, including kidney failure, seizures, and even death. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure that your dog always has access to fresh and clean water.

Factors That Affect Your Dog's Water Intake

While the general rule is to provide your dog with access to clean water at all times, certain factors may impact your dog's water intake. Here are some of the critical factors that can affect your dog's water intake:


A dog's age can influence its water intake. Puppies, for instance, require more water than adult dogs as they are still growing and developing. Senior dogs may also have difficulty drinking enough water due to weakened kidneys and other health issues.

Activity Level

Active dogs that spend a lot of time playing, exercising, or working may need more water than dogs that lead a more sedentary lifestyle.


The temperature and humidity of your dog's environment can significantly impact its water intake. In hotter and more humid climates, dogs may require more water to stay hydrated.


The type of food your dog eats can also affect its water intake. For instance, dogs that eat dry kibble may need more water than those that consume wet food, as the latter contains more moisture.

Signs of Dehydration in Dogs

It's crucial to recognize the signs of dehydration in dogs to ensure that they receive prompt medical attention. Here are some of the common signs of dehydration in dogs:

Dry Mouth and Gums

One of the most noticeable signs of dehydration in dogs is dryness in the mouth and gums. The gums may also appear sticky or tacky.

Sunken Eyes

Dehydration can cause the eyes to appear sunken, and the area around the eyes may also be dry and flaky.


Dehydrated dogs may also appear lethargic and tired. They may also have a lack of appetite and show signs of depression.

Dark Yellow Urine

Dehydration can cause the urine to become concentrated and darker than usual. In severe cases, dogs may not urinate at all.

Tips for Keeping Your Canine Hydrated

Keeping your canine hydrated is crucial to their health and well-being. Here are some essential tips to ensure your dog stays hydrated:

1. Always Provide Clean and Fresh Water

Ensure your dog has access to clean and fresh water at all times. The water bowl should be cleaned daily to prevent bacterial growth and contaminants.

2. Add Flavor to the Water

Some dogs may refuse to drink water, especially if they're used to drinking from a different source. Adding a bit of flavor to the water, such as chicken or beef broth, can encourage them to drink.

3. Offer Ice Cubes as a Treat

Dogs love to chew on ice cubes, and it's a great way to keep them hydrated on hot days.

4. Use a Dog Water Fountain

Investing in a dog water fountain is a great way to encourage your furry friend to drink more water. Running water is more appealing to dogs than stagnant water in a bowl.

5. Monitor Your Dog's Water Intake

Keep an eye on how much water your dog drinks daily. If you notice a significant decrease in their water intake, it's essential to take them to the vet.

6. Provide Water During and After Exercise

During exercise, your dog loses a lot of water through panting and sweating. Ensure you provide them with water before, during, and after exercise to prevent dehydration.

General Guidelines for Daily Water Intake by Age and Breed of Dogs

Age/Breed Water Intake
Puppy ½ to 1 cup per pound of body weight
Small breed adult (up to 20 lbs) 1.5 to 2 cups per day
Medium breed adult (20-50 lbs) 2.5 to 4 cups per day
Large breed adult (50-100 lbs) 5 to 8 cups per day
Giant breed adult (100+ lbs) 8 to 12 cups per day

FAQs about Dogs' Water Intake

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding dogs' water intake:

How much water should I give my dog?

Dogs require 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. However, this may vary depending on the factors discussed above.

How often should I refill my dog's water bowl?

It's essential to refill your dog's water bowl at least once a day, preferably twice a day, to ensure that your dog always has access to clean and fresh water.

Can dogs drink tap water?

Yes, dogs can drink tap water, but it's crucial to ensure that the water is clean and free from contaminants. Some dogs may be sensitive to the taste or odor of tap water, so offering filtered water may be beneficial.

Can dehydration be fatal in dogs?

Yes, dehydration can be fatal in dogs if left untreated. It can lead to severe health problems such as organ failure and, in extreme cases, death. It's crucial to recognize the signs of dehydration and provide prompt medical attention.

Can dogs drink milk?

While dogs can drink milk, it's not recommended as it can cause digestive problems such as diarrhea. Water is the best option for keeping your dog hydrated.

Can dogs get dehydrated from swimming?

Yes, dogs can get dehydrated from swimming, especially if they're swimming in saltwater or chlorinated water. Ensure that your dog has access to fresh water after swimming to rehydrate.

Can dogs survive without food but with water?

Yes, dogs can survive without food for several weeks, depending on various factors. However, it's crucial to ensure that they have access to clean and fresh water to prevent dehydration.


In conclusion, ensuring that your dog has access to clean and fresh water is crucial for their health and well-being. Understanding how long a dog can go without water and the factors that affect their water intake is essential for responsible pet ownership. By following the tips provided in this article and recognizing the signs of dehydration, you can keep your furry friend hydrated and healthy.